I have been spending a lot of time traveling around, discussing and discovering trends within the BI market space. One trend that typically gets over looked is BI for the Small to Medium Enterprise (SME)… thus, BI for the Little Guy. The reason this tends to get overlooked is because small businesses tend to assume they cannot afford or benefit from Business Intelligence technology. However, the fog is starting to clear for small businesses as many solutions are beginning to come to market with small learning curves and better yet, small price tags.
I’ve lectured on Business Intelligence throughout the country to audiences from a variety of industries and different sized organizations… from fortune 500 companies to 50 employee companies. This exposure to the different markets has helped to bring a few things to light.
The pinnacle of this was during the LimitlessBI conference at IBIS2013 where I delivered a presentation entitled “BI for the Little Guy”. The content? Case studies from different companies and how they implemented low cost, high impact solutions to change the way they did business. They were mostly SMEs, but there were also a couple of departmental deployments included as well. Here is a recap of four scenarios and solutions:
A department within a large auto manufacturer needed to have a mobile solution but the IT department did not have the bandwidth to support in the initiative. They wanted to provide their VPs with information that could be delivered on an iPad without internet connectivity. With the release of the new Roambi Business offer, they were able to utilize the best visualizations on the market, deliver a solution in days, with a price tag that didn’t have to go through a lengthy procurement process.
A small marketing company deployed the Yellowfin BI solution to 10 key users that then pushed content to a wider audience. They were able to develop and distribute content showing revenue from marketing campaigns in 3 days total and spent $0 (yes zero dollars) on professional services and training. With the solution deployed, they quickly identified a weak marketing campaign and ended it immediately, saving 1.6 times what they spent.
A real-estate brokerage was struggling to manage their referral process, not knowing which relationships were the most cost effective. They used InfoBurst to pull from multiple data sources and created a data warehouse in memory via the InfoBurst XML Data Cache. With the assistance of InfoSol, they created a custom HTML5 application that could be deployed anywhere they had a browser and internet connectivity. Based on data, they quickly identified which relationships were beneficial and which were not. This allowed them to better focus their attention to bring the biggest benefit to their business.
A small organization had been using Business Objects for more than 5 years in only one of their departments. The company was growing rapidly and needed to find a way to standardize their reporting while decreasing their development time needed to provide reports from their homegrown solution. The company was able to add to their existing licensing structure for a small price while scaling it for their now enterprise deployment. With the internal knowledge already in place, the company was able to cross train internally to eliminate the need for professional services. (BusinessObjects EDGE)
There are more examples of how SME businesses can utilize the benefits of BI without emptying out their pockets. If you are a small business and struggling to find a good solution, the only thing in your way is your imagination and understanding of what is out there. Between subscription based licensing and cloud offering, there is a flavor of BI for every business and for every budget no matter how small.
Whether you are an individual entrepreneur with your own business or one person or a small department acting as an intrapreneur within a larger corporation, I have seen inspired ways that bring the value of BI with low cost and lightning speed.
It’s all about asking the right questions.
At InfoSol, we believe that BI stands not only for Business Intelligence but also for Big Imagination.
If money was no barrier, what questions would help you best run your business? Leave me a comment below.