8 Tips On How To Get Started With Business Intelligence for Small Businesses

Gepubliceerd op 13 juli 2020 om 14:38

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Here are 8 tips on how to get started with business intelligence for small businesses:

1. Fulfill different needs

2. Increase transparency and relationships with customers

3. Analyze and easily combine various data sources online

4. Read your future with Predictive Analytics

5. Use the right data visualizations for your data stories

6. Foster collaboration and cooperation

Secure your data

8. Make better business decisions faster

Let's dig deeper into these points and explain what meaning each of them has.

1. Fulfill different needs

New business intelligence tools are designed to cater to the versatile needs of customers from different industries. As they are designed to be operated entirely by their users, they can easily adjust to many types of needs. Smart  self-service BI tools allow you to analyze multiple data sources on your own. Consequently, your company can choose and pay for just one tool that will address the problems of many departments. Each department can connect their own data sources, for example, marketing - Facebook or Google Analytics, whereas Sales - CSV files or SQL databases, to pull out business insights that are most significant to them. Moreover, BI software providers usually offer a few types of product packages - you can choose the one that matches your small business requirements in terms of its price and features. A certain interesting potential of big data examples  in the real world, including in the hospitality industry, should not be disregarded, since it can prove the vast implementation possibilities that can ultimately increase revenue and provide an increased customer satisfaction level. But more on customers later in the article.

These tools are particularly beneficial for fulfilling the various needs of a small business or startup. A jack-of-all-trades culture is part of the fun of being in a small business. It can feel like everyone is involved and invested at every level of the organization. It also has a tendency to create a few knowledge gaps. With everyone covering multiple roles, some expertise areas may lack depth. Data and analytics are a great example. Many small businesses can't afford to have a full-time staff member dedicated just to business intelligence. What they need is multiple staff members acting as part-time analysts for their departments and roles. Business intelligence for small business makes this possible. By accessing your own datasets needed to comprehend your next steps and make actionable, valid decisions for developing your business strategy in an efficient way, a small business analytics software can act as a bridge between analysis and important decision-making process. Making your data-story alive within a few clicks has made business owners decrease costs, assess their operations more efficiently, and provide a deep insight level on their overall business management process.

Easy-to-access web-based dashboards are the easiest way to empower data analytics for small business, be it for employees and owners alike. A self-service BI solution shouldn't require extensive training, programming knowledge, a data scientist, dedicated IT staff or a complex data infrastructure. Staff armed with easy-to-build / drag-and-drop, actionable and effective  business dashboards  can successfully tackle a wide range of department and organization issues across the board. Instead of wasting time trying to figure out “who might know this answer” or “who can pull the necessary data,” employees can proactively track their own  Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), identify cost savings and make strategic decisions. An additional benefit of this kind of small BI software is the fact that the data can also be shared across departments, different management levels, or just viewed and accessed by various stakeholders. There is no need of building complex spreadsheets anymore, or adjusting your written reports to every manager interested in your findings; a simple, interactive, live dashboard , will make business operations and management free of additional working hours which can be then allocated in other directions. 

Don't forget to test-drive your business intelligence - always make use of the free trial so you can be sure you and your team will be comfortable using it.

2. Increase transparency and relationships with customers

If you want to consolidate your presence in your customers' minds and make them stay with you, you must respond to or even forecast their needs. Acquiring and maintaining a base of loyal customers is particularly important for small businesses - we all know that retaining a customer is much cheaper than attracting a new one. Business intelligence for small business helps to gather data about your customers' behavior and structure it in a clear form so that it can be analyzed fast and easy. With insights about your customers' behavior, you can make effective business decisions. One good example we can focus on is customer service - a first responder to general and specific requests for information. While you might have agents or employees to answer these calls, you might want to analyze specific customer service KPIs  to know how to approach your customers in the future, what to improve in your customer management process, and how to gain valuable insights on where to decrease business costs.

Using data to best serve your customers is only part of how a small business analytics software improves customer relationships. Your customers want data. Transparency is the name of the game these days. Data improves negotiations and fosters customer relationships. For instance, BI tools are providing transparency to previously opaque  procurement processes . The complicated nature of the procurement and supply lifecycle often creates strained businesses practices along the lifecycle. Both sides can now easily access these data points through  BI tools. Procurement can quickly analyze supplier performance and provide feedback on how they are being evaluated, performing against the criteria, and performing vis-à-vis their competitors. There is also easy to prove that the data by which suppliers are being measured is accurate, unbiased and up-to-date. Procurement can also provide suppliers with purchases and demand patterns ahead of time.

3. Analyze and easily combine various data sources online

Continual access to  online dashboards  means that you and your colleagues will always have the information you need, regardless of your location. You don't have to engage an IT team and wait until they analyze your data and generate a report. It's an opportunity for small businesses to save some money without giving up on the quality of analysis. One of the best  reasons why you need a self-service BI tool  is that it provides you with data immediately, presenting it in a clear and neat format on your personal device. Data can be accessed on the fly for real-time analysis and immediate actionable insights, giving your team a competitive advantage. Business Intelligence for small business means having the right data at the right time for a fast and fruitful analysis.

 

Business Intelligence also gives you a one-stop shop for all your various data sources, like seen in the picture above. A business's data may be small, but it can still be complicated. This often results from various disparate data sources. A small business needs various data connectors , including Google Analytics, data from a CRM, a database, and Excel spreadsheets. BI tools like  datapine  can bring all this data under one roof. on the picture above are shown some of the connectors you can implement for your own business. This allows you to analyze it all online, in just one place. Small BI is equally important as big BI for any business; there's no downsize on effectively analyzing data, especially in one simple place. 

4. Read your future with Predictive Analytics

" Customer intelligence  is the practice or-determining and delivering data-driven insights into past and predicted future customer behavior. To be effective, customer intelligence must combine raw transactional and behavioral data to generate derived measures. ”

How is it possible? BI is not a crystal ball but a smart tool that will help you reveal some trends in your past performance that could otherwise go unnoticed. You can identify crucial trends in your data with the potential to unlock new growth opportunities. By analyzing your past performance in context and trying to understand the factors that influenced the best or worst results, you can discover the key to future growth.

Predictive analytics is particularly powerful in the retail industry. Retail companies are using point-of-sale, marketing, web-data, social-media, and loyalty data to make informed decisions about pricing, promotions, and assortment management. Retail analytics  can predict purchasing trends using this existing data. Retail data is also revolutionizing  demand forecasting and price optimization . All these functions are crucial to a retailer's success.

5. Use the right data visualizations for your data stories

The human brain is wired to process information visually, making visualization one of the best ways to explore and understand data, particularly when presenting it to customers, investors or other stakeholders. Say goodbye to stagnate reporting and hard to read spreadsheets! While Excel and PowerPoint remain important business tools for many, their interactivity options are limited. Interactive dashboards  quickly engage end-users with a wide range of technical acumen and provide an intuitive experience and easily digested insights. That's why to present data in a persuasive way and not to lose your audience's attention, it's advisable to use a  data visualization software - best choice of business intelligence for small business analytics. With this smart solution, you can display business data on compelling charts without spending too much time on chart formatting and design. The tool does it for you - your task is to analyze and make the best of your data.

Dashboards provide ROI by quickly highlighting trends and unearthing irregularities. With the right BI tool, data analytics for small business doesn't need to be relied on experts to run analyzes. An easy to use dashboard tool allows all employees to be their own analyst. More importantly, employees can interact with the data in real time. By simply clicking onto the interesting part of the report (depends on who do you want to present your data to), you can customize and extract specific points to analyze further and make fast decisions.

Remember  not all dashboards are created equal. There isn't a dashboard glass slipper out there. One dashboard won't deliver all of your dreams. A dashboard should address a particular problem, question, or data-story. It should be focused, visually appealing and simple to digest. Small businesses need to ensure they have the appropriate dashboard portfolio when launching their business intelligence. Let's explore this through an example.

 

** click to enlarge **

The  sales performance dashboard  above is a great example of a focused dashboard. This dashboard empowers sales teams with the right data and visualizations. No matter if they are on the road or in the office, sales managers see at a glance whether or not their team is meeting their individual goals. While this is a beautiful dashboard, it is pointless for your operations manager. They need their own focused BI. With the right tool, you can arm every department and hybrid departments across your small business. Remember, the  right data visualization type  tells the right data-story. Telling the right data story is key to any businesses success.

Your Chance:  Want to improve your small business performance?  Explore our 14-day free trial & benefit from small business analytics!

6. Foster collaboration and cooperation

As we've already mentioned, business intelligence allows you to access your data online anywhere you are, and run even most complex queries without IT support. For small businesses where one person wears many hats, it means that your employees can pull out the particular piece of information they need even if it exceeds their immediate area of ​​expertise. In this way members of your team are empowered to view the same data from multiple locations and make data-driven decisions together. Business intelligence for small business doesn't require any programming knowledge; neither you need to invest in SQL training. All you need to do is  create a beneficial dashboard culture in your company that will make everybody, from Head of Sales to your latest intern, understand that regular data analysis pays off. Gathering high-quality data is not a one-time effort and you must re-evaluate your goals periodically to determine whether your small BI setup is helping you achieve them. The more you empower individuals to use and share data, the better their access to vital customer and financial information, then the more effective they will be in contributing to the achievement of your goal. BI solution that requires a lot of IT intervention is not feasible for a small business, but the self-service BI solutions are within your reach. That being said, every person in your company can access important data needed for a successful operation and strategic process. Sharing those data, by using the right business reporting software , with other people within your company, can also provide a learning curve, so that people can understand better what is going on in other departments and implement those findings into their own educational process.

As we said, smart BI tools increase cooperation by providing data access, wherever employees are. The global market is evolving and so is the workplace. To decrease overhead costs and increase employee satisfaction companies and small businesses, in particular, are increasingly turning to non-traditional methods. Remote work possibilities are a big part of this new landscape. Indeed,  remote working  is catching on quickly across the globe. In the US alone, between 2005 and 2016, the number of people choosing to work from home, or telecommute, grew 140%, according to the  latest data from Global Workplace Analytics. This amounts to approximately 3.7 million remote workers at last count, or 2.8% of the US employee workforce. While the benefits of remote work are tangible, without the right infrastructure it can hinder collaboration and productivity. When it comes to data analyzes, web-based BI solutions solve this issue. The right solution allows employees to access their performance and business dashboards from anywhere, at any time. This keeps staff on the same page, no matter where they are.

Secure your data

Many BI tools offer data warehousing solutions which involve moving all or part of business data to secure data storage facility. Although the idea of ​​moving sensitive corporate data to a cloud-based data warehouse may act as a deterrent to some more analog managers, cloud solutions are gaining more and more popularity. Implementing the cloud means that you put your data in excellent hands of IT professionals who take care of it 24/7. Cloud storage providers must comply with strict security standards and are subject to regular security audits. Cloud-based data warehousing means no more worries about lost laptops with confidential data. As your data is stored in the cloud, the process of backing up and recovery is simplified and doesn't entail big expenses.

8. Make better business decisions faster

It is no question, starting a business is hard work. If your business is a startup, it can be even harder. Startups are paving paths in unknown territories while having to constantly prove their worth to the market and investors. The work doesn't stop once a startup gets off the ground. Businesses need to continually make all of the right decisions to move on from startup status to an established industry presence. To make these decisions and grow a business, they need the right information. The good news is the growth in the BI market has given businesses of all sizes unprecedented access to the information they need. They just need the right tools to access it and clear out the noise.

All startups are small businesses, but not all small businesses are startups. Telling the right data story is especially significant for startups. Startups are a unique breed. They don't play by the rules and neither do their KPIs. Startups need to ensure they are moving in the right direction and quickly change paths if they aren't. Successful startups do this by constantly monitoring and analyzing their data. To survive, startups also have to effectively translate this data story to investors, board members and other stakeholders to survive. Progressive startups are turning to business intelligence for small business to ensure they have the right tools to analyze, visualize and present their data. Presenting accurate and fast data to key stakeholders has become a must-have in the business community. Whether big or small, data must be evaluated and taken into account if a company wants to survive on the market. That being said, we will explore tips to utilize your big data, and implement them into the small business data analytics realm.

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Ciao, mi chiamo Enrica Bonsignore e sono una ricercatrice all'Università di Roma.
Amo la biologia, la medicina e la terapia non classica.
Nel mio tempo libero scrivo lavori per il blog https://vallesinamarathon.it/eretron-aktiv/
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