What I am about to say will most likely sound like a cliche – nevertheless, what I am about to say is something that every business owner must gain a full understanding of if they want to succeed: The inception of Business Intelligence Software has been the biggest game changer for businesses since the internet.
To be quite honest, BI has done such a good job turning organizational Big Data into comprehensible and tangible information that leads to bigger profits, it almost isn’t fair to those who haven’t adopted such technology. But, every business has available to them the same opportunities.
The big problem is that there is a lot of business intelligence software out there making all the same claims:
- Improve overall employee and organizational productivity
- Identify money making and saving opportunities
- Benchmark and track goals/progress more diligently
- Understand trends: markets, leads and customer behavior
- Improve efficiencies in generating meaningful reports
- Make better decisions, faster
If You’re Not Already, You Need to Start Using It
I wrote this article because it never fails to amaze me how many SMB owners I have the pleasure of talking to that admit they have not yet invested or even looked into BI software. And to back me up on what I am personally seeing, I recently read that only 23.5 percent of 10,000 technology executives that BI or BA technology is on their next list of things to purchase. That’s less than a quarter of them. Once more, it was “on their list,” which basically translates to, “Well, when I get around to it, it will be the next thing I do.” We all know how promising that is.
I asked a few of my friends who own startups how come they hadn’t invested in BI technologies as of yet. A few of those friends didn’t really know what it was. The others simply brushed the questions aside as if purchasing a new fancy glass door for their office was actually the biggest plan they had for their business in the next six months. This is ludicrous, I thought to myself.
Simply put: Business Intelligence is essential to your SBMs growth. And if you don’t adopt it now, you may as well sell your business to someone who understands this, because you’re headed for a lot of pain – most likely, failure.
This Is How Business Intelligence Makes You Money
1. Understanding What’s Going on in Real Time. If you’re running a business without BI technologies, then you are well aware of the guessing games that take place when collecting and trying to analyse data that may or may not be of any help. Imagine living in the 1960s and wanting to know buying trends in your supermarket. You’d have to spend hours, days, weeks, maybe longer sifting through sales records and comparing to other data paper trails you have available.
Today, there is BI software that collects every single bit of data you can imagine and analyses it in near real time. It even presents it to you in pretty, fancy visuals that even your great grandmother could understand. This type of information allows you to pinpoint exactly where your company needs to do what. This, my friend, saves you huge amounts of time and money – Oh! And actually increases profits as well. A great example of this is stock tracking. It turned it from a guessing game into actual data-backed science that can offer real time insights and predictions, a far cry from what we had 30 years ago. Hence, when you start working on your company’s budget, at least consider to build a stock tracking app.
2. Your Data Is Clean and Simple to Sort. As touched on above, the bad old days of data wrangling and cleansing, which took an excruciatingly long time, are over and done. But, I still know people logging things in actual books using ink pens – one guy I know just bought accounting software this year (he owns a small – but successful – hardware store). And to boot, he didn’t even download one of good quality.
So why are many businesses, especially the smaller ones, still conducting business this way? Simple answer: They think they’re too small to buy into BI technologies.
If any company, whether small or medium (doesn’t matter), employs BI technologies, they are simply connecting all of their data onto one BI platform (or “dashboard”), and they can see clearly, like an epiphany, all the data and marketing efforts in one place, which cuts out having to need additional staff – this saves you money!
SMBs are who actually use BI technology report saving money on recruitment, more accurate and high-frequency reporting, which is exactly where you should be at as a business operating in this fast paced age – you must be able to make real-time decisions. So, if you are not already using BI technology, or it’s on your “list” of the next things you will purchase, it’s probably a good idea to take it to the next level and just purchase it. The market sure isn’t waiting around.