business-intelligenceBusiness leaders and decision makers have more business tools than ever to help them reach a wider audience and become more competitive in their respective industry. Business intelligence is a broad term that is used to include the methods, systems and plans that businesses use in order to observe, analyze and comprehend data that’s connected with the most current performance, history or future business projections. There are also several other terms that are used for BI, including executive decision support, data discovery, and business analytics. If you currently own a business or are thinking about starting one, you might wonder how business intelligence can help you and how you can fully understand it.

The Main Goal

Since the business market can be hard to predict and there’s constantly an influx of information, business decision leaders need a way to make better informed decisions so that they can properly and safely guide their business into the future. The main goal of BI software and software-as-a-service solutions is to make business data easier to gather, view and dissect. Now business owners can have an easier time of successfully identifying current trends and complications, finding new perspectives and improving their operations in order to meet their goals.

Some intelligence solutions can be very inclusive while others can mainly concentrate on specific objectives, such as spend analysis, social media market analysis, management for corporate performance and sales pipeline observation.

The Bottom Line

Some companies are already seeing signs of success from using intelligence for business. Reports show that companies can now create contingency plans and safely manage their business goals. If you’re the owner of a smaller business, then intelligence solutions might not prove to be any more effective than regular spreadsheets and other traditional ad hoc tools. The only thing to keep in mind is that as your company grows you might start to find more use for intelligence solutions for business. You’ll need to learn more about operations investments, marketing, sales and new business opportunities.

Even if your business is already using intelligence for business, you’ll want to make sure that that intelligence is being used correctly by everyone in the business, including finance, marketing and sales. Small businesses might also run into problems if they choose to rely solely on spreadsheets, problems such as:

  • Spending more time and manpower than necessary to maintain and set up spreadsheets
  • Not having the proper resources for sufficient feedback and data sharing
  • Having to deal with the many errors in spreadsheets
  • Poor data analysis and reporting

Intelligence solutions for business give companies big and small the ability to streamline and combine collections of business information, observations and the reporting process. Intelligence solutions are also constructed on a shared database, so everyone who uses the solution can have their very own view of the business data as it occurs in real time. A vast majority of business solutions have self-service reporting tools and dashboards that make it simpler and faster for individuals to manage and participate in the intelligence process.

An Intelligence Solution of Your Own

Before, business intelligence solutions were simply too expensive and intricate for every business to have, but times have changed so that intelligence solutions are now more accessible for businesses of all types and sizes. Some of the newest innovations for BI solutions include:

  • Software that is function specific
  • Broader intelligence solution suites that have been pre-programmed
  • Solutions that are automatically integrated
  • Software-as-a-service solutions

There are more options than ever for businesses looking to take advantage of intelligence for business solutions. If you do decide to get a solution for your business, you’ll want to take your time and search for one with the right price, capabilities and one that you’ll be able to easily use.

Explore all of your options for intelligence solutions and seek out vendors who specialize in creating solutions that are especially for your particular industry and your size of business. Think about where your business is now and where you’d like for it to be in order to find the perfect solution.

Read more: Harness Your Inner Sherlock Holmes to Gain a Competitive Intelligence Advantage