Microsoft Works. Jumbo Shrimp. Clearly Misunderstood. Business Intelligence. What do all of these have in common? They are all oxymorons. But, business intelligence doesn’t have to be one. Let’s take a look at business intelligence and how it can help you.

You may not think you need it. Your business may be small enough or simple enough that you think you don’t even have business intelligence. But the truth is, all SMB owners have some form of business intelligence even if they can’t yet identify it. You may not know what you’re losing – missed opportunities, lost revenue, unmeasured KPIs, etc. But elite organizations know how vital these points are to become successful.

First of all, what is Business Intelligence? It’s a set of techniques and tools used to transform raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis purposes. The goal of business intelligence is to allow easy interpretation of large volumes of data to help identify both new opportunities and areas that can be improved.

One of the key aspects of business intelligence is key performance indicators or KPIs. KPIs are an easy way to evaluate the success or failure of an organization or a particular activity in which it engages. Simply put, KPIs are a way to measure success or failure using a set of predetermined goals. KPIs should be done on a department to department basis and sometimes even on an individual employee basis. KPIs inside a department determine if they are successful and they then roll up into larger goals for the business to help determine the overall health of the company. However, KPIs alone aren’t all you need – you also need the ability to interpret the data. KPIs don’t do much good if your employees don’t understand them, even if you and management does.

How can you make business intelligence successful? That’s where we come in. We can talk with you about BI, KPIs and discuss the tools and programs that can help your business. One of our favorite tools is Oracle. They have a large selection of business intelligence tools – web based with dashboards, flexible charts and reporting, and it ties into virtually any system. Programs like this are usually for medium to large businesses but there are versions suitable for SMBs as well.

We can help guide you through the different options available to help your business grow. Feel free to contact us to learn more or to get started on business intelligence for your business!

View Part 2 – Intro to Data Integration