Harnessing the power of business intelligence: A proposed use case for small, MEDIUM AND MICRO businesses
The subject matter of this research project is based off of a need to know what tools are available for small businesses who wish to compete with their bigger and more financially equipped counterparts. As someone who has always had a great interest in being an entrepreneur, I believe this is as great a medium as any other to delve into the topic of affordable business intelligence solutions for small businesses.
In a recent study of small and medium businesses, it was found that they collect a lot of data but are face with the problem of having too much information and ...view middle of the document...
” (IntegrateIT, 2012)
The importance of business Intelligence
Business intelligence solutions pull data from multiple operational systems, integrate it, analyze it and present it in easily digestible form as graphs, charts and dials on screen-based "dashboards." It answers the following questions; who are my rewarding customers? What are my most profitable products or services? Where are my most efficient locations? How much will it cost to create a new venture? Where am I losing money? (Blackwell, 2010)
BI when used appropriately enables a company make more informed decisions. Data on its own is just data but with business intelligence, it becomes more understandable. The importance of BI has grown with the ever increasing amount of information companies are collecting and the pressing need for real time information. (Daniel, 2007)
Business intelligence enables a company to understand changes that are going on in and around it; with its customers, its competitors, its suppliers and itself. It allows the company to understand and identify relevant information from data. (Netezza, an IBM company, 2004)
Some general applications of BI are general reporting, sales and marketing analysis, planning and forecasting, financial consolidation, budgeting and profitability analysis. BI in its entirety entails data warehousing, business analytics (reporting, data, text and web mining and business performance management. (Turban, Sharda, Delen, & King, 2011)
In recent times, the need for more real-time information has made the implementation of BI in any given business setting (small, medium or large) more pressing. Not only that but all businesses collect some form of data that can essentially be a goldmine and sometimes can be overloaded with an excess of accumulated unstructured data. That’s where BI can be of immense help; using it to extract the vital information from heap, transforming and cleaning the information and then storing it all for later use. (Daniel, 2007)
What benefits does a small business stand to gain from business intelligence?
Vendors are getting better at making software that’s easy to use and affordable.
With the growing number of small and medium businesses in the United States of America, companies like Intuit, Square, Microsoft and Google have taken the initiative to develop BI and data management solutions that are both accessible and functional. Technologies such as open source, cloud and in-memory and visualization tools have made of business technology more user-friendly.
A good example of this integration is the Google Chrome browser and Google Apps. This variety of applications provides the following solutions accounting and finance, human resources, legal and logistics, marketing and analytics and sales and customer relations; these are usually the four main departments one can find in an entity. (Google)
These apps can be accessed on multiple platforms including mobile devices. There are tools that provide...