BI analytics can benefit SMBs in many ways

Business intelligence (BI) has become a must-have technology for C-level executives, IT professionals and employees across different departments. As a result, recent Gartner studies have found business analytics to be the top-ranked priority for executives, projecting that the worldwide BI software market will grow 7 percent from 2012 to 2013 total nearly $14 billion.

At the same time, the report revealed that the business intelligence sector is yet to fully mature. 

"Every company has numerous subject areas – such as HR, marketing, social and so on – that have yet to even start with BI and analytics," said Kurt Schlegel, research vice president at Gartner.

Because of this demand, BI capabilities will likely develop rapidly and be able to perform a variety of business functions in the near future. Sales teams, customer service representatives, C-suite executives and IT professionals will all have tools at their disposal to help them perform everyday functions, including applications available via their mobile devices. An earlier survey by IFS and IDC, which polled 450 executives around the globe, found business intelligence software to be the second-most important app for mobile devices.

Consumerized products bringing technology to smaller companies
The BI sector is in the process of creating specialized applications that are affordable and accessible on a variety of devices. This will make the technology universally available, including among small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

In a recent blog post for IT News Africa, Logikal Consulting CEO Gerald Naidoo highlighted the different advantages BI solutions can provide for SMBs, including:

– ROI: BI analytics are extremely useful with regard to decision-making processes, from identifying which marketing strategies are effective to predicting whether a new product line will be successful. As a result, the technology can help SMBs achieve a faster return on investment. 

– Real-time visibility: With its ability to produce ad hoc reports on call, business intelligence provides both useful and uniform information throughout the workplace. 

– Fraud prevention: A recent report found that BI analysis tools represent a quality fraud deterrent.

"In opaque business environments, fraud and identity theft are a regular occurrence. With business intelligence strategies in place, businesses are able to clearly identify partners, authorities, institutions and methods – removing the possibility of being defrauded by local opportunists," said a report collaborator.

These and other benefits, coupled with increased affordability, make business intelligence solutions a priority for SMBs. In his blog post, Naidoo said that because of the consumerization of BI software, the technology has become affordable for IT departments across different industries and company sizes.

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