Business intelligence tools could make a big difference for small and medium sized businesses (SMBs). With the right kind of tools, any business can improve its competitive position by learning more about what is happening inside the business and using this information to plan future actions. It’s a sound strategic move that ultimately results in improved profitability. There are other advantages businesses can gain too. Here are some of them:

Improved Information Gathering

At one time, it was a hassle to get data covering the whole business together. Each team leader had to collect information from a wide range of people and find a useful way to put it all together. It was a painstaking process. However, IT administrators can help midsize businesses streamline the process by installing a business intelligence solution. Once this is properly configured, the system will collect data from around the organization, making it easy for all stakeholders to find and report on business information and trends.

Better Reporting Tools

With the right tools, employees and executives can also improve the way they report on the information they find. It is now easy to include business analytics in any business intelligence solution to provide a current and comprehensive view of what is happening within the enterprise. Business intelligence tools help people to look at trends based on past business data so they know – rather than guessing – what is happening now and can forecast what might happen in the future. This will allow them to be ahead of the market and their competitors.

Getting Social Data

It is also very useful to include in this analysis the data generated by customer interactions online. With millions of tweets and status updates generated on the biggest social sites every day, this is a rich source of business information that no SMB can afford to ignore. A business intelligence system can help gather and analyze this information so executives have a holistic picture of how online actions and perceptions affect their business.

Mobile Data Access

IT administrators can also assist SMBs by ensuring that they have access to this data wherever they go. The best business intelligence and business analytics solutions are also available on mobile devices so executives and salespeople can present dynamic charts and information when meeting with prospective clients. Not only does this enhance the reputation of the business, but it also means that employees can continue to work with the data even if they don’t happen to be at their desks. Of course, this means that administrators need to create policies about mobile data access and to adequately fortify network security.

Business Improvements

Many businesses find that using a business intelligence system improves collaboration throughout the enterprise. That’s because it inevitably alters the company culture to make information sharing more important. When employees in all departments have access to key metrics about the company’s performance, they can also improve their own personal performance. It’s not just about reporting and analysis but about enhancing strategic decision-making and optimizing operations. By installing business intelligence tools, IT administrators can contribute in a big way to achieving these goals.

Image credit: Ken Burbary