Business intelligence can be defined as the technologies and strategies employed by an organization to analyze and make sense of their data. In the past, it’s generally been thought that business intelligence (BI) tools are only meant for big companies. They were thought to be too cumbersome and way too expensive for a small business looking for cost-effective solutions to employ them. However, that’s not the case anymore.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), too, have realized the importance of business intelligence tools with the evolution of technology. In order to improve their revenue in sales and marketing along with their performance, small and medium-sized businesses are constantly looking for valuable BI tools.
Although there are quite a few SMB BI tools out there, historically Tableau has been a leading vendor as an SMB BI tool (and it still is today). But there are many more vendors, large and small, to choose from to pick the right one for your business. In this article, we will be exploring the top SMB business intelligence software available in the market, and which one you should be going for.
Key Components of Business Intelligence Tools for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
There are certain essential features your business intelligence software should be having for your SMB. They are as follows:
- Data Visualization: Data visualization helps in delivering actionable metrics and important insights. These tools help companies understand the outcome of difficult calculations, identify trends and patterns, and decipher the crucial takeaways.Be it interacting with the data or attempting to discover which data is leading to which result, data visualization helps with it all. A deeper analysis happens as a result of user engagement, aiding in creating a better decision-making process.
- Live Dashboards: Small and medium-sized businesses can greatly benefit from live dashboards as they enable them to view real-time data whenever required. Responding to minute-by-minute details of sales transactions, customer responsiveness, and moving forward towards benchmarks are all made possible with live dashboards.The feature of auto-refresh keeps everyone posted at all times, to make sure everyone is caught up with the scheme of things. Live dashboards allow you to make decisions even within a smaller time frame.
- Integrated Data Sources: In order to get the maximum benefits out of your business intelligence tools, it’s best to integrate the distinct data sources into a single virtual system. By including integrated data warehousing that is cloud-based, you get the chance to keep track of performances, view the respective successes and failures, and also see how your business is progressing towards the set goals.
Why are Business Intelligence Tools Necessary for SMBs?
Small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from BI platforms in numerous ways. Here are a few reasons why BI tools are imperative for SMBs:
- An elevated decision-making process can be administered through business intelligence tools. Calculations based on comparisons, percentages, and performance can be carried out through data analytics by looking at current, historical, as well as real-time data. This helps in reducing the time SMBs spend towards performing calculations, manual data entry, and generating reports.
- The level of communication improves with BI tools as passing on sensitive data within the organization members and discussing it becomes easier. This leads to an amplification of cooperation and collaboration among the stakeholders, thereby resulting in the growth of the business.
- BI tools allow you to know what the customers want and expect from your company. With this knowledge, you can modify your current strategies to cater to the needs of your audience, be it your potential or existing customers.
- With business intelligence software, companies can increase their market share. This is done by monitoring products, trends, and customer feedback to point out which areas need to be worked on.
- Adopting best practices by tapping into the data being stored by their applications (both online and on-premise), including spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel, and unlocking that data to provide valuable real-time knowledge and performance monitoring and management of key business processes.
Summing Up The Best Business Intelligence Software For SMBs
Be it budgeting, customer relations, or any other aspect of your business, small and medium-sized businesses require reporting tools to get a comprehensive overview regarding the current status of their company. With the best business intelligence tools, you can make sure that the changes you implement lead to the growth of your organization.
So, dig through the list of business intelligence tools named below, learn about them, compare their strengths and weaknesses, read the reviews (and leave one if you can), and find the one that best suits your needs.
Of course, this is our take on the best BI tools for small business, we want you to contribute your informed research as well. Leave a rating and a review for any platform that you are currently using.
Note: There are micro-niches within the category of data visualization that you can also check out. Please see our reviews of best free data analytics software, best open source bi software, best enterprise BI tools, and best self-service BI solutions.