BI: For The Business Intelligent
Updated: Mar 22
What if there was a way for your executives to be flies on the wall in every department? Or better yet, the inner workings of every division, software platform, and machine?
While it may be a few years before technology advances to this level, business intelligence (BI) software has gotten pretty close. BI software utilizes methods of analyzing, assembling, and storing data in order to generate useful insights quickly and extremely accurately. Until recently, BI software was only affordable and available for large enterprises. With technological advancements over the past few years however, this software has become readily available and affordable, allowing small businesses to hop on the BI wave.
BI is relevant to all businesses, regardless of size, but is becoming especially relevant in the world of small business. Because growing companies have tighter budgets, it is important that they find each and every way to improve decision making to mitigate risks, lower costs, and ultimately scale efficiently. This is especially important after the beginning stages of a company’s growth to allow the business to maximize every dollar on hand.
Before small businesses had access to BI software, they had to spend a great deal of time and effort manually using spreadsheets to store and analyze business data. As every small business leader knows, time is money; spending it on repetitive, manual analysis drains already-limited resources, ultimately hurting growth. Thankfully, the strategic use of BI software all but completely eliminates this issue. This allows small businesses to focus on core operations, all while uncovering previously-hidden insights to drive optimal decision making across the organization. This way, growing companies are able to scale quickly while improving their profitability.
As technology advances and the availability and affordability of BI tools increase, many promising trends have begun to emerge. Amidst a global pandemic, collaboration is something business leaders crave, not just in their businesses, but in everyday life. BI software has and will continue to become more collaborative, facilitating teamwork and communication within companies. More specifically, BI dashboards can be shared across all departments and office locations of a company, ensuring that everyone has access to invaluable insights.
So, what are the best BI tools for small businesses looking to grow? Industry-leading offerings include Microsoft Power BI, Tableau, Amazon QuickSight, and Looker. The preferred platform of ACG, Power BI is an interactive reporting platform that allows companies to share dashboards via internal workspaces and apps, as well as personalize their own reports through the ability to bookmark. The other aforementioned platforms allow for similar functionality, with each lending itself to specific use cases. For example, Tableau is more effective in visualizing data in its source format, while Looker allows for data-driven workflows to catalyze rapid deployment.
While you are still not able to be a fly on the wall in each and every aspect of your company’s operations, BI tools bridge the gap between an undue reliance on repetitive analytical tasks and true business omniscience. With these powerful tools in your arsenal, your company will be poised to scale quickly and efficiency, all while optimizing decision making across the organization.
The Astral Consulting Group brings together the analytical thinking of an engineer and the holistic business acumen of a management consultant to build data-driven cultures. Through cloud infrastructure, Astral Analytics, and real-time data visualization, we empower our clients to make the right decision at the right time. As engineers first, we developed The Astral Framework to build workflows unique to each business case, which incorporate both the “first-principles” and Agile methodologies. We pride ourselves on working closely alongside our clients throughout each engagement, offering virtual and in-person expertise every step of the way.