It used to be that Business Intelligence (BI) was reserved only for large corporations with IT budgets to match. But with the advent of the cloud, the growth of software-as-a-service and more competition overall, BI is now within reach for small businesses too, and they’re reaping the benefits.

One 2013 study done by Oxford Economics reported that more than half of firms having sales under $100,000 planned to use BI within three years—representing an increase of 43%. While that offers optimism, you should be careful before embarking on a BI plan. In an article published by Computer World, Gartner research stated that between 70% and 80% of business intelligence projects fail.

So take your time to find out some key indicators of its advantages for your business. Understand, first, what it means, second, what it can do for your business, and third how you can execute it successfully.

What is Business Intelligence? Sounds very James Bond, but a little less thrilling. BI is a software technology that focuses on finding trends in varied sets of data to deliver intelligence you can use to make smart business decisions. It’s facts, figures, data analysis generating reports and charts and other helpful insights you can put to work for you.

Some larger software giants like Microsoft and Intuit have developed solutions for small businesses, giving you the opportunity to leverage this market without a huge investment—and without employing a full-time data expert to use it.

Three top solutions you’ll want to explore and compare are Tableau, Birst, and QlikView. All have user-friendly platforms and each has nuances you’ll want to discover for yourself. But know that BI is an involved process no matter what software you use. So before you step into it, it’s best to define the business need you’re trying to solve, and then determine if you have the operational data required to pull from.

Ready to gather more intelligence on taking advantage of IT in your business? Contact TechnoAdvantage today!

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