Business intelligence (BI) tools used to be prohibitively expensive because they required hiring specialists to analyze business data. This is why only large companies could afford them in the past and why small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) were hesitant to implement them. But times have changed. SMBs now have access to a vast range of affordable BI tools that can improve data management processes. To stay ahead, your SMB should harness the capabilities of BI and develop effective business strategies using large volumes of data just sitting in your systems.
Whether you have always wanted to try BI or are on the fence about it, you can’t deny that it brings a suite of benefits that can help your SMB grow. Here are some of the top reasons why BI is changing the way SMBs do business.
Self-service BI tools are plentiful — and inexpensive
The emergence of self-service BI puts useful business analytics within reach of SMB owners who lack the big budgets of larger corporations. In fact, there are numerous self-service BI tools that you can use to get started without even spending a dime. Microsoft Power BI is a powerful and user-friendly application, and most businesses will find the functions they need in the free version. Zoho Analytics has a low entry-level cost, too, and the slightly pricier yet still affordable Tableau is another option worth exploring.
You already have the data you need
It’s easy to underestimate the amount of data your SMB already has at its disposal. In every area of your business, from finance and sales to customer relations and website management, the software packages you use to run your everyday operations reap tons of information that just sit in storage devices or the cloud.
By talking to the key people in your organization, you can get an idea of the kind of data you already have, how it’s generated, and where it’s stored. You can then utilize BI tools to transform that information into meaningful business insights that will inform your decision-making. There’s no need to invest in time-consuming data generation from scratch!
It’s easy to get started
BI is an intimidating term, especially for business owners who are not technologically inclined. But by taking small steps, it’s easy for anyone to get started. Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying the benefits of having data-driven, intelligence-based insights that will enable you to make better business decisions.
Most self-service BI tools come with built-in suggestions for reports that businesses commonly run and find useful. Some worthwhile statistics to explore include the percentage of your clients who cancel within a given period, website landing pages that generate the longest visits, and your most profitable individual products or services. You can also use BI to know the days or months in which you generate your highest revenues, as well as which of your clients bring in the most revenue and profit.
Harnessing data is the future of the business world — it’s how companies like yours can make smarter decisions that increase efficiency and profitability. And with a trove of self-service tools available in the market, SMBs no longer need a humongous budget to reap the benefits of BI. To find out more about implementing tools that can help you do smarter business, just give us a call.