Not only has business intelligence software penetrated SMBs with more affordable, scalable solutions, but using BI in small to medium size businesses is proving to be more rewarding for companies. This is mostly because SMBs have the ability to be agile and act quicker to freshly uncovered insights and make true data-driven decisions.

Every company today shrewdly collects data that customers or prospects leave behind from web, email, social media, and mobile–making it easy for even SMBs to accumulate more data they know what to do with. In addition, almost every business today stores all their transactional data in a CRM solution and marketing data in Google AdWords and Analytics, which adds an additional growing data source to the equation. Think, just the data from marketing and sales departments can be overwhelming and easily exceed Excels capacity (which is what most organizations without a BI tool use to build reports).

Plus, large data isn’t the only reason companies need a business intelligence software—it is also about joining multiple data sets into a single version of truth to build brilliant dashboards with information that will show you a complete picture of your business.

Data in every company, regardless of size and number of customers, is growing exponentially and the information this data holds is invaluable to every business. Here are some indicators your SMB can benefit from a business intelligence software:

1. You have data, but no real information

Maybe you’re diligently collecting important data, but data isn’t the same as getting information that gives you important, relevant insights. If you’re not having any ‘aha’ moments, you need a tool to help you gather data and analyze it to: identify trends, discover useful insights, and adjust operations to meet KPIs and business goals.

2. Excel is annoyingly slow

When reports have more data than Excel was designed to crunch, everything becomes slow and making changes or reloading becomes a nightmare. Some users start maintaining numerous worksheets, which is a headache to consolidate. A BI tool can help you join all your scattered datasets and get a unified, accurate view of what’s going on in your business–without ever slowing down since it’s built to handle gigabyte to terabyte scale data. Basic tasks like creating organizational plans, consolidating multiple data sources like spreadsheets, and measuring KPIs will be made easy.

3. It’s hard to be 100% accurate (especially when collaborating)

Before implementing a BI tool, users typically store data files for reports locally on their computers. If several people want to work on a report using the same data, they must all have identical copies of the file and inevitable changes are hard to implement. Numerous colleagues working on the same report can lead to a debate over the location of the most updated, accurate data, as well as inhibit users from adding real-time data for the most up-to-date insights. With a BI and dashboard reporting tool that has web-based dashboards, managing reports and collaborating with multiple users is simple as everything is updated in real-time and everyone is accessing one version of truth–so you will never be working with inaccurate information.

4. Everyone is waiting for IT

Creating reports without a BI software means you need to get IT involved–which forces all non-technical users to be dependent on another department. If every tweak and edit in a report needs to be implemented by IT, eventually they’ll become a bottleneck. Using a BI tool would let you empower non-technical business users and let them analyze data to meet business goals. Any solid BI tool with a clean, intuitive UI will allow business users to build their own reports as well as have the flexibility to add or tweak any dashboard.

A New Weapon for SMBs

As you see, it doesn’t take a lot of data or customers for any SMB to gain true value and a sharp competitive advantage from a business intelligence solution. A robust BI tool will transform any SMB into a powerhouse of data-driven decisions by giving it the ability to handle large data, create a single version of truth from multiple data sources, and deliver beautiful data visualizations that allows even non-technical people to harvest insights and make critical decisions in real-time. Since it’s easier for SMBs to act faster on these insights is giving smaller businesses a new weapon to take on large competitors.

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