Breaking Down Business Intelligence for SMBs

Posted by on September 19, 2013 in Business Technology [ 3 Comments ]

BI SMBWith the advances in technology and the awareness businesses have about what their consumers are looking for, business intelligence (BI) providers are looking to offer solutions at relatively low costs. Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are a lucrative marketing and business intelligence providers are well aware of this. While BI may be a hot topic, some SMBs may not be aware of what types of solutions are actually available and what each means for their business. Let’s break down the 4 of most common types of BI and what the benefits of each are for SMB owners.

Related: 4 Business Intelligence Trends for Your Small Business

Mobile BI

Mobility is becoming a must for many businesses. From remote HR to tablet sales, businesses are more mobile than ever. Mobile BI is taking the business world by storm. According to IDC, the world’s mobile workforce population will reach 1.3 billion by 2015. With a mobile workforce, you need to be able to deliver the insights and data of your business to your employees, no matter where they are. Mobile business intelligence solutions enable your business to do this without miscommunications or missed opportunities taking place. Mobile BI should be able to track near real-time data, alert users to data abnormalities, and equip someone to take immediate action based on available data.

Cloud BI

Cloud BI is one of the biggest BI trends of 2013. Storing data and software in the cloud — essentially a series of large servers shared by a multitude of users — is increasingly popular both for matters of convenience and cost-effectiveness. Cloud BI puts dashboards and KPIs on the web. The data visualizations cloud-based BI applications provide and the associated software are hosted on a network, which means users don’t need to invest in additional software or hardware to access BI information and analytics.

Related: Get information and quotes for business intelligence software solutions and services.

Social BI

Social business intelligence refers to the creation, publishing and sharing of custom BI or analytics reports. Social media BI allows you to view, in real-time, what people are talking about. Pulling data from different social media networks and reports can help your company refine and define its social media strategy and how it can most effectively use social networks for feedback and action. What people do online and on social networks provides an increasingly accurate picture of a customer’s profile, including lifestyle choices, buying preferences and brand perception. Small businesses can use this information without the extra spend of hiring yet another consultant.

Traditional BI

While some say traditional business intelligence may be phased out in the near future by mobile, cloud or social BI, that’s not the case. Traditional BI is evolving as businesses strive to streamline their processes, dashboards and analytics tools. The more dated tools provide businesses with the basics – converting raw data into meaningful information that can be used for more informed decisions. While some may want more robust options that include a combination of social and mobile BI, or one that’s cloud-based, traditional BI solutions can be a best bet for small businesses who just want the basics at a low-cost price.

Related: Leveraging Analytics to Meet the Needs of Customers

Understanding what options are available for your business can help you make the right decision when it comes to business intelligence. Even without a big budget, business owners and managers can find a business intelligence (BI) solution that can enable them to make more informed decisions for a better business strategy.

(Image: adamr via freedigitalphotos.net)


3 thoughts on “Breaking Down Business Intelligence for SMBs


  1. avatarGary Meyers

    Thanks for the article. Now is the time that SMBs can benefit from the same (or better!) BI solutions that big business has been using for decades. The power of Big Data combined with the affordability of cloud and subscription (SaaS) pricing are now available to the mid market.

    Another trend – “domain-based” BI – in which specific domain knowledge is infused into the solution itself. So instead of having to build all of the KPIs and reports from scratch, SMEs can leverage an “intelligent” system with pre-built best practice analytics. We’re seeing that across the spectrum: CRM, HR, web, and operations. FusionOps, for example, provides nearly 1,000 out of the box supply chain analytics to SAP customers in the cloud for a low monthly fee. It’s like salesforce.com – would you consider building your own CRM system today?


  2. avatarPeter Sammut

    Mobile BI has definitely been taking off this year. I have been working entirely with Mobile BI for 2 years and the level of interest is increasing. Company employees from all levels enjoy using Mobile BI daily and keep telling me that they now see data differently! It is common for companies to request more reports across other departments once the initial one or two Mobile BI reports have been completed.


  3. avatarDavid White

    Nice article Erica. I recently published research based on data collected from BI users that highlights best practices that SMBs can use to make the most of their investments. It’s available for free download from the URL provided.


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