What exactly is business intelligence? Why would I need something so erudite or technical for my small business? When is the right time to adopt a business intelligence software? When’s the moment to mobilize my business intelligence? That’s what GetApp and the BI experts we’ve consulted are here to answer for you today. So let’s get started!
What is business intelligence?
First, let’s review what business intelligence, often called BI, is. Well, like big data it’s one of those often overused and generalized topics that encompasses many topics, including:
- Real-time looks at the Past, the Present, and the Future
- Data processing
- Denormalization which clumps and organizes data
- Key performance indicators (KPIs) optimization
- Data mining
- and, seriously loads more
Essentially it takes all that big stuff and organizes it in a nice and easier way for you to understand and consume large amounts of information. Our new data guru Rafa refers to it reverently as “a discipline that transforms data into knowledge.”
How can business intelligence software affect my small business?
You definitely learned it in school and on TV public service announcements: Knowledge is power. The more you know about your small business — from sales to IT to customer service — the more you have to work with to improve your business workflows and, in the end, the results.
A lot of people think that, after a year or so into their business, they no longer have time, energy or necessity to write and rewrite business plans. You’re already successful without it, right? Maybe. But you won’t be that way for long. Founders and C-level team members must work with IT, sales and marketing very regularly to create and update forecasting and predictions for the next week, quarter, year, and five years of the company, as well as truly drill into the numbers of the past and present to learn how to develop, maintain and nurture successful processes and workflows.
The problem is that running a start-up or SMB is an endlessly time-sucking endeavor. You rarely have the time or resources to allocate an entire team member to manually run BI tasks and results.
In comes business intelligence software. A business intelligence software or solution is a fantastic web-based tool that does the hard work for you by analyzing all that cross-functional data to identify your company’s strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to build a strategic plan for the future.
How could business intelligence accelerate my SMB?
First and foremost, it does the work of ten. Business intelligence solutions are some of the most time-saving cloud-based tools out there. This means that BI solutions save you time and money — which is what business cloud-based solutions are all about anyway, aren’t they?
BI is also all about business strategy. It is the link that unites your operations with your e-board by linking results directly to next steps through concrete metrics and KPIs. And BI is an essential link within your staff too. When the BI results are disseminated properly and transparently, each of your department feels a sense of ownership of its goals, building invaluable motivation, commitment and loyalty.
All this and more leads to a fantastic bottom line: business intelligence software makes your business inherently more competitive.
When is my company ready for business intelligence software?
Yesterday. “Nowadays, there is a need for all businesses to gather and track more and more business data, if they want to compete hard and continuously grow,” says Aravind Natarajan, head of marketing and business development at Zoho Reports. Aravind offered the three reasons why you need a business intelligence software today.
- SMBs use a lot of applications/software now and their business data is distributed across. Having a BI tool helps in merging/blending all these data, to get meaningful insights and to make better decisions.
- SMBs need to track key business metrics like sales numbers, website visits, marketing spends/returns, number of support tickets etc, all assimilated and analyzed at one central place. A BI tool allows them to get a 360° view of their business. If an SMB wants to grow continuously, it is best if they keep track of all such metrics.
- More and more SMBs now run their business in the cloud. And this means most of theirbusiness data have started to reside in the cloud. So using a cloud BI tool will benefit them nicely, because of the easy accessibility options and affordability.
When’s the right time to mobile our business intelligence?
The day before yesterday. If you are using an app or cloud-based tool, why not mobilize it? It may be because at GetApp we sincerely heart being able to run our business in a streamlined way from anywhere.
Roambi Analytics says we’re in the midst of a mobile revolution and we certainly agree. If you want to grow your business, you have to be mobile. Here’s five reasons that Roambi offers to get your mobile analytics done:
- Little data is becoming a big deal – Big data is all the rage right now, but using BI to mine little data of your small business means more interpretable data and faster results.
- Mobile analytics makes your data easier to understand – Mobile BI apps like Roambi converts boring Excel spreadsheets into visual, consumable data.
- Your team is mobile, its data should be too – That’s what we’re saying!
- Make your strengths even stronger – You as an small biz may feel like David versus the enterprise giant sometimes, but that leaves you more room to roam and revise strategy more quickly. Mobile Analytics makes you more agile than those bigger fellas.
- You can make the future easier for yourself – BI apps like Roambi scale along with your business, so you can engrain this mobile solution in with your sales from the start.
So what are you waiting for?
Your company isn’t going to get more efficient and clever on its own. You need a business intelligence software to do the hard maths for you, so you can focus on the important strategic decisions and moves that will push your business into a future of prosperity.
Photos: New Old Stock
When Is It Time to Mobilize Your Business Intelligence?