Small business owners are concerned with optimizing their processes and growing as quickly as they sustainably can. Business intelligence (BI) allows owners to make well-informed business decisions that enable them to become and remain competitive.
There are many elements of a business that require upkeep, from operations to sales to marketing. All of these departments contain moving parts that can be difficult to monitor consistently. BI facilitates this process by making data available to business owners.
What Is Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence allows owners to gather and analyze data about their company. This collection of information helps administrative personnel better understand how their business runs, offering educated insights to make smart, strategic decisions. These systems reveal trends and patterns both within the business’ performance and in the greater market. BI systems also provide findings based on data, which allows business owners to evaluate the performance of processes in their companies.
The data collected by BI systems can forecast performance, which is extremely valuable for businesses that are trying to predict consumer wants and needs. The software analyzes past and present trends, factoring in variables like location and season to produce more accurate insights.
Many people confuse BI with big data. Big data consists of large and complex data sets that exceed the capacity for simple data processing systems like Microsoft Excel. Big data pulls information externally, contributing to its expansive capacities, and it exists as a subsection of BI. Business intelligence is a more inclusive term that includes all kinds of information and data analysis, regardless of size.
Most importantly, BI solutions include not only the aggregated data, but also the corresponding data analysis. To be successful, small business owners should collect information and analyze it to make smart decisions that encourage the growth of their business. BI systems offer a starting point for understanding how a business functions and how to find and fix its weak points.
Why Business Intelligence Is Useful for Small Businesses and How to Use It
Business intelligence has a variety of valuable uses and applications. With easier access to information, business owners can spend more time addressing needs that ultimately enhance the performance of their company instead of crunching numbers. Data itself will not immediately improve a business. For a BI solution to help, you must learn how to analyze it and use the synthesized information to develop actionable insights that improve your business and inspire growth.
We have broken down the many reasons why business intelligence is useful into five easy categories with examples of how to apply the information.
1. Forecast More Accurately
Effective business intelligence solutions allow for better visibility and understanding of a business. Some BI systems use big data, which assesses, organizes and depicts information that may be outside of a company’s data sources, creating a more expansive resource. The software used to track this information does not require programming skills, which means that the data is accessible and neatly organized. This data helps business owners better predict risks and easily identify trends and patterns in their business.
Predicting risks allows businesses to avoid expensive mistakes. Budgeting is a high priority in small businesses, and BI solutions help owners by incorporating tools to assist in ongoing budgeting tips. This feature helps maintain careful control over a business’s assets without expecting owners to have one eye on the bank accounts at all times.
BI software also helps identify trends that optimize customer satisfaction. By monitoring the sales performance of individual products and tracking customer feedback, you can cater to the wants and needs of your shoppers more easily. Predicting which items will be popular can help enhance sales efficiency.
Business intelligence allows owners to analyze information about what products are most popular and identify emerging trends. This data can be used to monitor the performance of sales representatives. If a worker is frequently unable to meet their product quota, the information gathered can help create solutions based on the proven shortcomings to foster better implementation.
2. Learn From the Customers
Customer satisfaction is the backbone of a healthy business. BI services help small businesses collect information about what products customers buy most frequently, where they shop and the products or services that they want or need. Providing what a customer is looking for makes a business a stronger contender.
Customer feedback also helps compare a business’s performance to how successful its competitors are, revealing areas of growth to work on. Factors like product pricing, customer service and other front-facing characteristics of a business create a first impression for customers. Listening to customer feedback helps businesses cultivate practices that put consumers first. BI tools provide data that allows business owners to calculate the cost of customer acquisition, along with taking the proper steps to retain them.
Consumers communicate with businesses in many ways, even when they are not buying directly from the business itself. Monitor market trends to find out what customers are purchasing from your competitors. As a small business, you should compare your products and services to similar businesses and identify ways to set yourself apart.
3. Enhance Business Performance
Strong business capability directly correlates with profitability. Used correctly, BI software helps small businesses become more competitive by enhancing their effectiveness. By monitoring trends and marketing opportunities, small businesses take advantage of resources in meaningful places with a higher chance of return. This software streamlines processes and makes operations more efficient to ensure that businesses effectively use valuable resources.
Business owners should be able to make informed decisions about their company to ensure continued excellence. Studies reveal how BI solutions provide data that equips business owners to make quick and fact-based decisions about all elements of their operations. Sales trends, manufacturing processes and staff achievements are easily monitored, providing the groundwork for necessary adjustments. Business intelligence can streamline the process by automatically entering data and calculations to create charts or graph reports, saving business owners from having to enter the information manually.
Pricing strategies also affect business performance because the cost of products or services directly affects who shops there. Smart pricing strategies are essential for staying competitive, especially as a small business. BI helps business owners make smart decisions about how to price items based on competitors’ prices, location, season and marketing campaigns. Market trends and patterns provide insight into reasonable price ranges, helping a small business remain competitive.
4. Simplify Business Processes
BI solutions sort information to help business owners comprehend the data. This function allows owners to streamline complex business processes that could otherwise utilize unnecessarily large amounts of resources.
BI software can automate operations to liberate staff from tedious work, boosting productivity and reducing the risk of human error. BI also offers insight into other processes that are ineffective, such as poor inventory management and marketing strategies that do not acquire customers. Optimizing tasks encourages business growth and increases performance.
As a small business grows and gains customers, the supply chain requires attention. More customers mean higher demand for products and services. Growing popularity must be supported by strengthening the supply chain to ensure that customer orders are satisfied. Business intelligence manages these orders and requests and analyzes data attained from customers to further improve various business processes.
5. Communicate Safely and Effectively
Internal and external communications are core tenants of business operations. BI ensures the security of confidential business documentation and information. Even if a computer is lost or stolen, the data is locked safely away to prevent theft. Also, the information will still be accessible even if this event occurs, as business intelligence systems allow users to view data from anywhere and at any time.
Easy access to information ensures that business owners can keep constant tabs on the state of the business. BI solutions, therefore, facilitate communication and increase cooperation among individuals at all levels of the company. From executives to employees on the sales floor, everyone can collaborate to accelerate business growth with effective communication.
External communication also requires careful planning and monitoring. With other information provided by the BI software, business owners can develop marketing strategies and campaigns. Information about revenue growth, profitability and customer satisfaction assists with external communications. Small businesses greatly benefit from the marketing campaign performance analysis feature, which compares expected sales to reality. With this information, business owners can determine whether the campaign was successful and make the necessary adjustments for increased profitability.
What to Consider When Choosing a Business Intelligence Tool
There is a seemingly bottomless pit of options for BI solutions. The first step to choosing the right resource is to determine your goals for the software — this method helps you narrow the options and eliminate tools that have unnecessary features and capabilities. Research the systems your competitors use to find a strong starting point. To help you find a BI tool that works best for your business, we have identified three elements to consider.
Business intelligence comes as standalone or integrated solutions. While standalone solutions must be accessed in their unique application, integrated solutions are accessible through preexisting applications and websites available through your business. Integrated tools work inside another application, much like a plug-in. This feature makes them much more accessible, as you can combine their capabilities with other facets of your business that users are already familiar with.
Integrated tools come in two variations — fully and partially integrated. The major difference between the two is that fully integrated solutions offer much more security than partially integrated options. As you peruse the integrated choices for BI tools, take time to research whether they are partially or fully integrated. Though companies will advertise that their solutions are integrated, many avoid specific details.
Many small businesses greatly benefit from integrated solutions because of the seamless incorporation with preexisting systems. To determine whether a standalone or integrated BI solution is best for your business, consider who will need to operate the tool, what programs you already use and where you want to access the data.
There is no standard BI solution that fits well for every business because each organization has unique needs and utilizes its own individual path to achieve its goals. As a result, you should be skeptical of a BI tool that claims to be “one size fits all.” Customization is a significant factor because it continually meets the needs of a changing business.
BI solutions need to be flexible to allow development. As a small business grows, its needs will change and the BI system should easily permit this growth. As you consider BI options, determine what aspects of your system will need adjustment over time.
Speed plays a crucial role in selecting a BI solution. If the customization that you add is too complex, it could slow down the data presentation and delay the results. Delayed results defeat the purpose of instituting a BI system that offers real-time data. To avoid this dilemma, use a testing environment that simulates the demands of your business.
As you look at business intelligence solutions, carefully examine the pricing. Small businesses should consider if and how the vendor charges for scaling. If your business grows, your BI will also need to increase. Good vendors help you expand your system properly and avoid pricing that restricts you. The system’s co-development with your business is essential to ensure that you avoid unnecessary fees in the future.
Determine whether the features available with a system are equitable to the cost and find out what kinds of products and services you have to pay the vendor for. Some vendors will charge you for updates that must be manually requested, whereas others update automatically for free.
Tips for Deploying a Business Intelligence Tool
Configuring your BI tool is the last step in gaining access to useful business insights. Pickorchard helps facilitate this process and removes the stress of deploying your new system on Apple devices. Pickorchard equips your Apple products with customizable features and effective capabilities. Regardless of how many devices you need, Pickorchard incorporates the necessary technology and prioritizes security.
At Pickorchard, we employ a zero-touch configuration, which streamlines deployment and maintains consistency. This approach ensures efficiency by enrolling multiple systems from a central location. Pickorchard accommodates scalability with our simple enrollment system, which is also much more cost-effective. Avoid paying for the time and labor required for manual installation by opting for the zero-touch setup.
Pickorchard offers automated patching solutions that improve security, reduce IT efforts and enhance visibility. Manual updates leave devices vulnerable to risks, but automated updates prioritize the risk levels and update systems based on the security risk severity. Prioritize your business’ data security with Pickorchard.
Deploy New Apps on Apple Devices With Pickorchard
Pickorchard offers efficient and easy deployment for a cost-effective price point. Apple device management, deployment and security are among the comprehensive services offered by our experts.
Find out how Pickorchard can simplify your business intelligence tool by visiting our website today. Combine any variety of services from experts to meet the needs of your growing small business. You can request a quote from Pickorchard using our quick online form.