Organisations make their best decisions when they are made based on accurate and accessible information, rather than just ‘gut-feel’. Business Intelligence has come a long way, taking the responsibility away from the IT Department and allowing decision-makers to interact with their business information.
Savvy SMBs in Australia are no longer focusing only on their bottom line; they are looking to improve it by understanding what is working and what isn’t. BI gives them the means to look at the organisation visually and understand which projects or jobs are making money, which products generate the most margins, which salespeople are under performing, which products are not selling and so on.
Most managers in SMBs understand their businesses well and which areas would increase the bottom line – if only they could get access to real-time data in an understandable format. This problem is all too common because businesses store their information across a wide range of disparate systems and the reporting they get back is basic and often static.
BI enables SMBs to pull data from many different sources, whether it is an ERP solution, Excel, Access etc providing clear information that management can then use to make informed decisions.
This new wave of BI provides SMBs with the ability to produce results in hours and days, rather than weeks and months hence making BI affordable for the masses. In addition, after the initial implementation by the vendor, the simplicity of these new BI tools means that internal staff are able to take ownership of BI within their organisation. This makes for better users of the software solution and is much more cost effective in the long term.
So if you are a forward thinking SMB then perhaps 2012 is a good time to look at being better informed.
In a slower economy it’s a very sensible step to take.