With the prevalence of Big Data across the board, more and more companies are making business intelligence, or BI, available for Small Business. Unfortunately, there are still some hurdles for small businesses when it comes to BI. Let's take a look at what to watch out for if you are looking at BI for Small Business.
Implementing BI can be difficult
When you first implement business intelligence software, there is a steep learning curve for employees. They must train with the new software and learn how to weave it into the daily workings of the business. Employees must also train on how to access and utilize the information collected with the business intelligence software. For large corporations, they can often hire someone to do this or to come in and train employees on an individual level. Small businesses often do not have that luxury. First of all, they have to allow for employees to stop what they are doing and train with the new software. Small businesses usually do not have the manpower to spare. Second, of all, the new employees have to implement the software. In a small business, there is no one to check up on employees to make sure they are utilizing the new BI software. Another hurdle to implementing BI can be employee resistance to change. Sometimes, in a small business, you might find employees that are used to calling the shots for their own work and don't like change. This push back can make new BI software implementation difficult. While there are challenges to implementing business intelligence in a small business, it isn't impossible.
Too much bang for your buck
Another thing small businesses should watch out for when shopping for business intelligence software is a company that pushes more software than is needed. Sometimes, a company can hear all that business intelligence can do, and they just get so excited and buy more software than they need. This may not seem like a big deal, however, it will cost more money up front and require more training that might be forgotten by the time the software is actually needed. Small businesses might also buy too much BI software if they anticipate growth in the near future. A little bit of BI can go a long way, and even if you anticipate business growth, you might not know exactly what type of software you need until you actually go through that growth. Patience is key. You don't need what you don't need, so there is no need to over-spend or over-buy when it comes to business intelligence for small businesses.
Excel isn't the only way to excel
Most small businesses rely only on Excel for their business intelligence needs. While Excel is good at what it does, it can't do it all. Watch out for IT employees that try to tell you that Excel is all you need for your business to grow and stay relevant. If you want to keep up with the larger businesses, you might want to look at other options as well. There is BI software that can help you monitor theft or security breaches. There is BI software that can help you more clearly visualize and utilize the data you collect. Just because Excel is familiar to most people these days, doesn't mean it's the best tool for your company. Figure out your needs and find business intelligence software that can answer your questions and fulfill your needs. Don't be afraid to jump outside of your comfort zone.
As you can see, business intelligence can definitely help small businesses if they know what to avoid. When you know what to avoid, it helps highlight what you truly need in business intelligence software. If you have a small business, you need to be using business intelligence to gain the competitive edge and continue to succeed in today's business world.