Business Intelligence Blog from arcplan

BI for SMBs: How to Select the Right Business Intelligence Solution for Your Size Business


Business Intelligence (BI) is not just for Fortune 1000 companies anymore. Many small- and medium-sized businesses are moving beyond manually tracking Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in spreadsheets and are making use of the same analytics and reporting that large enterprises rely on. Deploying BI is a big decision for any company, but especially for SMBs with limited resources and budget constraints.

The first step to implementing a BI solution is to develop a list of good buying criteria. While each company has a unique set of priorities, a standard set of rules for the majority of SMBs is to adopt solutions that:

  • Are easy to install, configure and manage
  • Require minimal customization and are simple to use
  • Don’t increase demand on already limited IT resources
  • Can easily integrate with existing systems
  • Have straight-forward and simple pricing
  • Can be consumed in modular components and extended when required
  • Are relevant and proven in same-size and same-industry companies

There are a number of BI vendors with easy to use, affordable, and scalable software solutions that offer an ideal entry point into BI so you can take your decision-making to the next level. You simply need to find the right solution that fits your individual business needs.


BI for SMBs: Top Considerations for Deploying BI in 2012


There is evidence SMBs are ahead of the curve when it comes to performance management. A 2010 Aberdeen Group study found that mid-sized companies outperformed their larger counterparts during the most recent economic slow-down and are more likely to use performance metrics pervasively throughout the organization. If you’re one of these businesses – or would like to be – you can cultivate a culture of fact-based decision-making by making the move from manual tracking of KPIs to the widespread use of business intelligence. BI is not just for large enterprises anymore!

Deploying BI is a big decision for any company, but especially for SMBs with limited resources and budget constraints. These are the top 3 considerations for SMBs starting BI projects in the next 12 months:

1) Spreadsheets – continue using Excel or stop? Excel is still the most pervasive analytics tool in the world and also the most commonly used database – especially for planners – because it is relatively easy to use and inexpensive. The good news is that there is a way to marry the best part of Excel into a BI infrastructure. In such a system, Excel is used for analysis and is directly connected to the reporting database so you can automate your reporting in a familiar environment. (Want to learn more? Click here.)

2) Your vendor approach – best of breed or single vendor? In the best of breed approach, you would plug the best product for your specific task into your BI stack. Smaller niche vendors are eager to provide the best products and services at a more affordable price than megavendors. Going with a single stack can be expensive and locks you in, but it does offer you access to a suite of products that should work together if your needs change/grow in the future.

3) Deployment strategy – SaaS or hosted?

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