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I have seen firsthand the powerful differences business intelligence (BI) can make to the success of sales and marketing teams in small and midsize businesses (SMBs). For example, it is remarkable what the sales and marketing forces of SAP SMB reference customers, such as Fresh Direct, Consarc, and Columbia Valley Community Health, have achieved when they are supported with reliable and current information that they can access in seconds from anywhere at any time. The teams are far more able to make informed and unified decisions because they are basing them on a single version of the same business intelligence – the same information at any time for everyone in the organization.

Nevertheless, I’ve also seen what happens when an SMB is not relying on an integrated BI solution. To the degree that your sales and marketing teams are inhibited from accessing and using reliable information to make better decisions, it is to that degree that you need BI.    

Typical BI Scenarios for SMBs: If You Can Say “Yes” to Any of These, You Need BI

Your sales and marketing teams are constrained to address business problems adequately if you can answer, “Yes, that’s us,” to any of the following scenarios:

1. It is difficult for you to accurately identify trends and variances, such as increasing sales discounting in large lists of numeric data.

2. It is also difficult for you to link and match data across disconnected spreadsheets to understand the causes of trends and variances. As a result, you cannot gain insight with confidence across your business and social data.

3. It is often troublesome and frustrating for your business users to consistently access reliable information and enable them to make informed decisions on the spot. For the same reason, it is also difficult for you to instantly identify and address potential issues.

4.  Likewise, it is costly and time consuming to enable your mobile work force to make better field decisions.

5. It is also costly and time consuming for you to work with different BI applications to solve problems – especially when you require close to real-time data for decision making.

6. Finally, your strategies and plans are built on partial data and “gut feel” instead of a fact-based understanding of the business

If you answered, “Yes, that’s us,” to just one of these scenarios, the time to consider an integrated BI solution may be now. Also, consider this: it is particularly difficult to stimulate sales and marketing efforts in a tight economy like the one we have today without an integrated BI solution. But which solution is right for you?

Knot #1: Deciding Which BI Solution Is Right for You

Start untangling this knot by realizing that not all business intelligence solutions are created equal. Hundreds of vendors and thousands of BI solutions are available, but only one leads the way in addressing the needs of the SMB. SAP BusinessObjects Edge Business Intelligence was specifically designed to bring large enterprise BI capabilities to SMBs, and with it, you are empowered to untangle even the most complex business dilemmas. Untangling knot #2 gives you just one example:

Knot #2: Saying Goodbye to Disconnected Spreadsheets 

Without an integrated BI solution, it can be difficult or impossible to identify trends and variances, especially when you have to link and match data across disconnected spreadsheets. SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI comes with SAP BusinessObjects Event Insight. This capability enables event-driven BI in your organization, which helps you to discover and understand business impact continuously. SAP BusinessObjects Event Insight aggregates mounds of real-time events, adding contextual insight to what has happened. It then connects and empowers everyone in your business ecosystem to prepare for immediate action. In addition, SAP offers the industry’s only common platform for enterprise information management (EIM) and BI. This gives your marketing users visibility from “data to dashboard,” allowing them to understand the full information lifecycle and evaluate the confidence level based on the source, timeliness, and quality of the BI data they see before them.

Knot $3: Gaining More Intelligence on SAP BusinessObjects Edge Business Intelligence

You can quickly learn exactly how SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI can tear your specific business knots apart by following this link to SAP BusinessObjects Edge BI – the intelligent choice in BI for today’s SMBs:  http://www.sap.com/mk/get/LOBWRSLS. We hope the information in our blog has helped you!

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