The Power of your Data: How to Drive Business Intelligence in your SME

Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2022

With the right business intelligence software, even small companies can use their existing data to gain strategic advantages.

For years now, SMEs have been drowning in data. It’s literally everywhere—in spreadsheets, CRMs, ERPs, product databases, Slack channels, Google Workspaces, Microsoft Teams, bookkeeping software and everywhere else you can think of. But having data is only half the battle. You have to figure out where and how to use it to fuel improvement in your business. 

In this post, we take a look at what business intelligence is and how you can use it to “see” and translate your data into a competitive advantage. Read on to learn more!

What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence (BI) is the process of turning your fragmented abundance of data into relevant insights for your business—and then delivering those insights in graphs, charts and visuals that just about anyone can understand.

This isn’t the stuff of magic. Rather, it’s the result of clever software that gathers, combines, stores, analyses and visualises your data to uncover key patterns and trends. BI can be used to track KPIs, assess risks and opportunities, smash sales goals, better manage resources, and make predictions about future performance.

Sounds great, but is it for SMEs?

When you’re a small fish swimming in the ocean of giant enterprises, BI can appear big-data-ish and overwhelming. Smaller businesses often worry that they have neither the IT know-how nor the budget to afford it. Yet there are dozens of great tools on the market that have been designed with SMEs in mind. These products give you vital insights for decision-making without forcing you to pay for features you don't really need.

Take Power BI, for instance. Part of the Microsoft Office suite, Power BI is SaaS based so there’s no initial investment. It turns ugly numbers into pretty pictures and is simple enough for non-developers to use. If your organisation is already invested in the Microsoft Office ecosystem, this could be the ideal solution to help you keep costs down.

Need more convincing? Here are three ways that SMEs can benefit from BI solutions.

Smarter decision making: BI tools break down the data silos that exist within your organisation, so you get the whole story on key metrics and not just the opening paragraph. The user-friendly visualisation tools empower decision-makers to make critical decisions faster, taking efficiency to a whole new level.

Time efficiency: We know that sudden business environment changes are tough to cope with for SMEs. BI tools come with live dashboards, giving you instant access to real-time data whenever you want it. This is important as it allows decision makers to jump on opportunities with minimal response time.

Cost cutting: With the help of BI, you can quickly identify the areas that are consuming financial resources and compare them with outcomes. This lets you find the inefficiencies that may have been invisible before, so you can fix problems before they spiral out of control.

Final words

Business Intelligence transforms businesses. It provides the insights that deliver informed decision making which can drive greater efficiency, productivity and innovation. Business intelligence enables you to know what’s happening in real time, why it’s happening, how to stop it or capitalise on it, and how to predict what will happen next.

Being able to deduce action from data is a competitive advantage leading you to grow your customer base, improve employee productivity, and create a better product or higher quality service.

We’d be delighted to talk to you about how we can help transform your business through BI. 


Further BI resources

E-Book: An introduction to Business Intelligence (BI): Overcome everyday data issues

Blog: Is fragmented ‘siloed’ data holding your business back? 5 ways Power BI enhances Business Intelligence

Guide: Becoming a data-driven organisations: A blueprint for getting there

Blog: 5 everyday processes you can automate with Power Automate +44 (0)151 7097728 The Tempest 12 Tithebarn Street Liverpool L2 2DT

Graham James

Graham's background is in Enterprise Information Solutions within the Manufacturing, Education, Healthcare and Supply Chain sectors. The depth of his Board level experience in IT adds dynamism to the management team to grow in traditional and new markets.

Read more posts by Graham James