Channel technologies, IT management, Small business

Leveraging BI for Small and Mid-sized Enterprises

As the business world grapples with the sea of data, BI (business intelligence) tools have completely transformed how data is collected, analyzed, and used. Although these tools have helped enterprise giants conduct faster and more accurate reporting and analysis, the truth is, BI is not just for large enterprises.

In fact, the technology offers just as many benefits for small and mid-sized organizations as well. Read on to learn about the different types of BI tools and how your small or mid-sized company can leverage them.

BI Tools for Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises

In today’s technology-driven landscape, BI tools have a large role to play in gathering data from internal and external sources and providing decision-makers with the insight they need to make quick and precise decisions across operations, employee fulfillment, marketing strategies, HR policies, and customer satisfaction. It is true that big businesses have had the budget to invest in modern BI tools to harness big data; however, small businesses can also glean value from BI by investing in the technology on a small scale.

Today, several BI organizations like Microsoft and Tableau are building a plethora of tools specifically for small and mid-sized organizations, so they can unearth the right amount of insight from their growing data in an efficient and affordable manner. Offering a modern set of features that are easy to use, these tools enable small and mid-sized companies to leverage custom dashboards, interactive reports, and predictive analytics capabilities to analyze data from across the organization, unearth critical insight, and turn insights into actionable decisions.

Leveraging BI Tools

A data-driven business mindset requires organizations of all sizes to embrace modern BI tools to improve the quality and speed of business decision-making. Here are some benefits small and mid-sized businesses can achieve by leveraging BI tools:

Improved Visibility Across the Business

In the absence of integrated technology and systems, small and mid-sized enterprises struggle to get visibility into their organization, which impacts the accuracy and timeliness of their decisions.

Since BI tools have the ability to collect data from every system, application, and department, they overcome the challenge of data silos and empower decision-makers to make decisions that are fact-based, data-driven, and all-encompassing.

Better Budgeting and Financial Planning

Small and mid-sized organizations face countless budgeting obstacles every day. The absence of proper financial planning means poor visibility into cash flow, restricted or overshooting marketing budgets, and unforeseen expenses.

BI tools allow such organizations to efficiently manage their cash flow; they help summarize sales through interactive charts while enabling organizations to accurately allocate budget based on current demands and future forecasts.

Better Risk Management

Given that small businesses are often more prone to risk, BI tools can provide insight into imminent risks and threats, allowing them to take necessary action. By constantly analyzing the business environment, these tools can proactively detect risks and enable small and mid-sized organizations to mitigate them while lowering costs and improving revenue.

Improved Demand Forecasting

Accurately forecasting demand is a Herculean task for small and mid-sized organizations, but not if they have the right BI tools in place. Using pre-built BI dashboards and reports, organizations can get a single view of customers – their purchasing history, their current needs, as well as their future requirements – allowing for better forecasting, better planning, and thus better supply chain efficiency.

5 Types of BI Tools

As customer demands increase, businesses must find ways to become more agile and responsive to these demands. Thankfully, small and mid-sized businesses today have easy access to BI solutions that are not only affordable, but also reliable.

With capabilities that aid in reporting and analysis, these tools provide a 360-degree view of the business, while allowing decision-makers to make fact-based decisions to simplify complex business processes, optimize operational performance, and improve customer satisfaction. That said, here are 5 types of BI tools that can help small and mid-sized businesses in achieving better business outcomes:

Data Analytics Systems

Modern data analytics systems are ideal for integrating data from a wide range of sources and converting into visually appealing and easy-to-understand reports. These tools can help businesses track key metrics, discover trends, and unearth critical insights from data.

Local Information Systems

Local information systems, built with new-age BI tools, allow organizations to enable geographic reporting. By carrying analysis on statistical data, they offer unmatched knowledge management functionalities for efficient storage and retrieval of unstructured data with a strong geographic reference – such as population figures, local regulations, and country-specific needs.

Data Visualization Tools

For small businesses with limited budget, expensive data scientists are hard to find (and afford). For such businesses, data visualization tools can deliver essential insights and actionable metrics in dynamic, easy-to-comprehend format. Using engaging and intuitive visual graphics, they help small businesses grasp data of complex calculations easily and drill down to get a better understanding of what data is feeding the results.

Self-Service Tools

As more and more businesses get launched, small and mid-sized organizations must make quick and accurate decisions. Self-service BI tools can empower everyday users to leverage the technology to sort, filter, and visualize data on their own and make decisions without having to rely on data scientists for business analytics. Such tools can also allow customers to resolve minor issues and queries on their own – without having to contact the customer service desk.

BI with AI

BI tools, when paired with AI (artificial intelligence) technology, can result in far more exceptional outcomes. Instead of humans manually collecting, cleansing, and sorting data, AI-enabled intelligent systems can perform labor-intensive and time-consuming tasks and improve the accuracy and timeliness of business decision-making. BI and AI can also be used together to detect trends, spot outliers, and identify connections/patterns in data more easily.

Drive More Profit with Business Intelligence

Big or small, every business today needs to leverage tools to analyze the growing volume and complexity of data. BI tools are a great way for organizations – especially small and mid-sized – to improve visibility, financial planning, risk management, and demand forecasting. Regardless of the scale or size of your business, implementing the right BI tool today will help you get the most out of your data and drive more profit.

Blog courtesy of Synoptek. Read more from Synoptek here.