There's a revolution going on in business intelligence (BI), as corporations invest in solutions to get the most out of their data and maximize sales. Small businesses have plenty to gain from the BI revolution too, and as SmallBusinessComputing.com notes, there are plenty of BI solutions and services that can meet their needs cheaply and easily.
If you don't know everything you'd like to know about what makes your business tick -- what works, what doesn't and how much it all costs -- you need business intelligence or BI. Business intelligence solutions pull data from multiple operational systems (finance, sales, supply chain management, etc.), integrate it, analyze it and present it in easily digestible form as graphs, charts and dials on screen-based "dashboards."
"Business intelligence is about empowering people with the data that will help them make better decisions," said Dyke Hensen, senior vice president of product strategy at Pivotlink, a vendor of software-as-a-service (SaaS) BI solutions.
BI answers questions such as: Which are my best customers? Which are my most profitable products or services? Which are my most efficient locations? How much will it cost to open a new territory? Where am I wasting money?
For more on business intelligence for small businesses, including rapid ROI, low-cost (and even free) BI solutions and determining your need for a BI solution, see Is Business Intelligence for Small Business Too? at SmallBusinessComputing.com.