What is Business Intelligence (BI)? BI is the transformation of raw information or data into meaningful business insight via software or manual extrapolation. Too often do we think BI is restricted to the big banks and corporations and completely unnecessary to run a small business. Well here are the 5 reasons that may make you rethink that!
#1 | A good BI tool is also a communication vector.
Either internally and externally, it is generally assumed that communication is a game that a business owner has to master to be successful. But unfortunately, most of the time it comes along with extremely boring and time consuming activities like: find the good data to base the speech on, build reports, craft slideshows, etc. Indeed, if you are planning to talk to the company’s investors, you will probably be willing to bring with you a chart presenting the monthly revenue of your organisation over the past year. If the week after, you have to boost your sales team, you will have to show them how much better their results were last year during the same period…
Using Impac!, all of this is very easy: you just have to access your “Company” dashboard, select the “Revenue” widget, and here you are: you have the good chart ready with accurate data to present to your investors. Now, go to your “Sales” Dashboard, configure the “Sales history” widget to display last year’s results, and the BI tool will build for you the best argument to motivate your sales team next week.
#2 | Using BI is a good way to learn a bit of “what is going on with everything in my business”.
It is true that nothing can replace the human contact provided by a periodic team meeting to ensure you have the good information. However, the more your team is growing, the more your business is diversifying its activities, the more difficult it will be for you to retrieve accurate information about everything. When in the beginning you have two people working on sales, it’s not a big deal to know which opportunities they are currently trying to close. It is much more complex when this team turns to count 20 people, and when you also have to manage a R&D team, a production line, a customer service team, etc.
The purpose of Business Intelligence is to centralise all the data regarding your company in good looking, simple, efficient reporting dashboards. So if you need to precisely track a particular information that has not been mentioned last Monday during the meeting, let’s say for example that you want to make sure that a particular customer will pay his late invoices this month, just configure an alert in the BI tool: you would receive an email either when the invoices are paid or 5 days before the end of the month if it’s not the case…
#3 | BI lets you identify the priorities on which you need to act on.
And to go further, BI lets you make your decisions based on facts, and not based on your intuition. As Business Intelligence is based on the aggregation of all the data related to your company, it will let you have a real-time accurate vision of your accounts balances, your profit and loss, your cash flow per month… All this essential information you would otherwise be forced to calculate by yourself, or by hiring accountants. The BI tool will also inform you of the invoiced amount not paid yet, but that should be paid in the months to come, and will help you to draw a forecast of your business performance.
To make it short, a good BI tool will provide you with a good past, present, but also future picture of your business metrics. And these three pictures will be based on facts and numbers. Needless to say that these three ingredients are a big part of the recipe that will allow you to make the good decision on time.
#4 | Business owners never have time to lose: Business Intelligence helps you save some.
A good BI tool won’t require you to be a developer, or to spend hours on software installation and configuration. Ideally, such a tool would be cloud-based, and accessible anywhere with an Internet connection (and you wouldn’t need to install anything). If you have already tested the solution we propose on Maestrano, you have seen that it is separated in three parts, all cloud-based:
- First you have all the applications you like to use (Quickbooks / Xero / MYOB for accounting, vTiger / SugarCRM for CRM, etc.)
- Then Connec!™ is synchronising all your business data between these apps
- Finally, Impac!™, the BI tool in itself, is displaying this data in a nice looking way, through reporting dashboards and widgets
It can look a bit complex but all in all, as a business owner, all you need to do is to add the widgets you want to your dashboard through Impac!™ (for example, we have widgets for “Expenses and revenue” or “Unpaid invoices”, “Workforce summary”…). A click on a “Add” button and that’s all. No time spent on software installation, plugin development, Excel spreadsheets filling, or manual reports creation.
You have all the data available at a glance.
#5 | A good BI tool not only tells you about your company, but also about your competitors.
And this is in my opinion the most important point. Just imagine that instead of purchasing a full market study, you would be able to compare automatically on a single chart your sales performance with the average performances of thousands of businesses in the same industry? What if you could analyse how most of your competitors reacted to the unexpected weakening of the market last year? And what percentage of them managed to anticipate it?
By building statistics based on data collected on thousands of businesses over the world, this is something that we can do at Maestrano. And this is something that we definitely want to give you access to with Impac!™ in the near future. It could worth to give it a try 😉 http://maestrano.com/impac