In the past, business intelligence tools were largely used only by bigger companies to help them get a clear view of what is going on in their target market. Decision makers have always been on the lookout for data that can speed up their business since the beginning of time, and business intelligence tools have answered these prayers. To picture it better, imagine a person putting up a canopy everyday to protect his consumers from the scorching heat of the sun. Whenever he does this, the number of his consumers significantly increase by 1% everyday.
Considering the nature of competition and the number of consumers back then, he must have made a fortune! Business intelligence employs the same concept as the canopy example.
While technology has made it easier to gather and manipulate data, the idea of business intelligence is still widely about how businesses can leverage resources relative to the data gathered from BI tools and bring it to a higher profit margin.
The previous decades have made business intelligence sound too elitist, which caused the smaller businesses to shy away. But that is now a thing of the past! Smaller companies can now make use of business intelligence tools for their smaller scale goals and resources. Newer versions of BI tools are made in a way that focuses on looking for data that can help make important business decisions, no matter what the company size.
If BI tools were initially made for big corporations, how can a small to medium-sized businesses use them for their purpose? Here are some pointers:
- Choose a solution that enables anyone to become an analyst for your business.
Not all SMEs are capable of hiring business analysts. In fact, there is always this one-person-fits-all type of role that SMEs have to hire, despite its complexity. That being said, it is necessary to find a solution that’s easy enough to comprehend, something that any start-up businessman can manipulate.
Earlier versions of business intelligence software required an in-depth knowledge of programming, which is quite disconnected to its purpose of providing businessmen real-time analysis of their own data. An entrepreneur’s role includes: managing a business, taking care of the cash flow, and harnessing new techniques that could welcome new customers. Clearly, coding isn’t one of them.
Today, the best business intelligence software solutions are the ones which do not require programming knowledge for building dashboards. A BI solution that has a built-in analytics function can help you save time in examining raw data. Best practices which are already installed in the software can maximize your human resource team as they too can perform data analysis.
- Software dynamism and efficiency is a must!
Examining your audience is one of the crucial factors of business analytics and the whole point of using BI tools. The old models of business intelligence softwares would require a team of IT professionals to extract the data collected and would leave the role of the analysts in the waiting list during the process. Converting the raw data into meaningful pieces of information would require at least 2 weeks before it is delivered to the business owner. The longer it takes for the IT team to figure out the data, the more ineffective the data will be.
Remember that your market is constantly changing at a varying consistency. For example, they may like a certain style of shoes now, but after a month, this fad may disappear.
Target marketing strategy should be done in a speedy manner. Knowing what they need, how they feel about your new advertisement, or which color of the product is preferred are types of information that you may need in the analytics process.
- Be visually appealing.
The human brain is wired to appreciate things that look good. Oddly enough, this is generally the same for all types of information, may it be a person’s face, dress design, gift wrapper’s color combination, even visual aids for reports. This means that making your data presentable and appealing is mandatory for investors and customers to fully understand your analysis.
Admittedly, creating visualized context isn’t simple especially that you have to be 100% accurate with what you’re presenting. Thus, it is advisable to look for solutions that can help you make a visual representation of your data easily such as through charts or trend lines.
- Make use of Cloud in Business Intelligence
Cloud and Business Intelligence are a match made in heaven from a businessman’s perspective. Since the Internet is accessible to anyone and almost anywhere nowadays, it will be easier for you to access relevant data through cloud software that do not require you to have an exclusive log-in. The beauty of cloud applications when used in the business analytics process comes in 4 very important factors:
- Comprehensive usage
- Increased application speed
Relying on the cloud is perfect for any small to medium sized business because it is not as costly as conventional BI tools. As long as there is a reliable Internet connection, the features of various cloud technology is operable by any amateur user thus you won’t be needing a structured deployment process. On the other hand, do not rely solely on cloud. You need to have a solution that allows you to store data in your given premises, something that you can always use even when offline.
Big data seems like a giant term for a small business to implement, but do not be intimidated! Things do not have to be complex as long as you find the right solution to fit your needs as a small to medium scale type of business.