Business intelligence benefits for SMBs

Business intelligence can provide in-depth insights into virtually any aspect of a business, and a BI solution is not just for large companies. Small and medium-sized businesses can take advantage of data analysis to help them improve their day-to-day operations, find weaknesses in budgetary spending or identify which marketing tactics are working or failing. According to recent Gartner research, SMBs are helping drive up the value of the global business intelligence market, which is poised to expand from $13.8 billion in 2013 to $17.1 billion by 2016.

How can business intelligence help SMBs?
Business 2 Community pointed out that web-based BI can prove especially useful for SMBs, giving them the opportunity to better understand their target customers and determine which marketing tactics will be the most successful. While it may seem challenging for SMBs to explore BI, intuitive services like Panorama's Necto 14 make it easier for companies to analyze, understand and manipulate data.

Can SMBs use BI to improve marketing?
By combining web data with operational information, businesses can get a better idea of their customers and what social media and other online channels they frequent, the source suggested. In turn, companies can use the information to tailor their marketing strategies toward what their target demographic is using most. For example, Snapchat, an app more popular among teens and young adults than older individuals, may be a great resource for teen fashion retailers, but might not be as fruitful for companies that appeal mainly to older demographics. While this example may seem obvious, data analytics can come in handy when deciding whether to emphasize strategies for more universally popular social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

Will SMBs need to hire BI experts?
Business intelligence can be tricky to navigate, so it can be useful to have at least one IT staff member familiar with BI. This may mean hiring a new employee, but it isn't likely SMBs will need to bring on more than one or two IT experts. BI software is becoming more intuitive, making it easier for anyone, not just those familiar with BI, to manipulate data sets and interpret data visualisation. Necto 14, for instance, offers self-service BI that makes it easy for non-experts to tweak the inputs and interpret the data without the assistance of an IT analyst.

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