Business intelligence can be defined as the technologies and strategies employed by an organization to analyze and make sense of their data.
In the past, it’s generally been thought that business intelligence (BI) tools are only meant for big companies. They were thought to be too cumbersome and way too expensive for a small business looking for cost-effective solutions to employ them. However, that’s not the case anymore.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), too, have realized the importance of business intelligence tools with the evolution of technology. In order to improve their revenue in sales and marketing along with their performance, small and medium-sized businesses are constantly looking for valuable BI tools.
Although there are quite a few SMB BI tools out there, historically Tableau has been a leading vendor as an SMB BI tool (and it still is today). But for the purpose of our top options, we decided to exclude Tableau which has had stumbles post-acquitiostn by Salesforce, and we are hearing many more complaints about the cost and complexity of the tool for small business users.
But, alas, there are many more vendors, large and small, to choose from to pick the right one for your business. In this article, we will be exploring the top SMB business intelligence software available in the market, and which one you should be going for.
Key Components of Business Intelligence Tools for Small and Medium-Sized Businesses
There are certain essential features your business intelligence software should be having for your SMB. They are as follows:
- Data Visualization: Data visualization helps in delivering actionable metrics and important insights. These tools help companies understand the outcome of difficult calculations, identify trends and patterns, and decipher the crucial takeaways.
Be it interacting with the data or attempting to discover which data is leading to which result, data visualization helps with it all. A deeper analysis happens as a result of user engagement, aiding in creating a better decision-making process.
- Live Dashboards: Small and medium-sized businesses can greatly benefit from live dashboards as they enable them to view real-time data whenever required. Responding to minute-by-minute details of sales transactions, customer responsiveness, and moving forward towards benchmarks are all made possible with live dashboards.
The feature of auto-refresh keeps everyone posted at all times, to make sure everyone is caught up with the scheme of things. Live dashboards allow you to make decisions even within a smaller time frame.
- Integrated Data Sources: In order to get the maximum benefits out of your business intelligence tools, it’s best to integrate distinct data sources into a single virtual system.
By including integrated data warehousing that is cloud-based, you get the chance to keep track of performances, view the respective successes and failures, and also see how your business is progressing towards the set goals.
Why are Business Intelligence Tools Necessary for SMBs?
Small and medium-sized businesses can benefit from BI platforms in numerous ways. Here are a few reasons why BI tools are imperative for SMBs:
- An elevated decision-making process can be administered through business intelligence tools. Calculations based on comparisons, percentages, and performance can be carried out through data analytics by looking at current, historical, as well as real-time data. This helps in reducing the time SMBs spend performing calculations, manual data entry, and generating reports.
- The level of communication improves with BI tools as passing on sensitive data within the organization members and discussing it becomes easier. This leads to an amplification of cooperation and collaboration among the stakeholders, thereby resulting in the growth of the business.
- BI tools allow you to know what the customers want and expect from your company. With this knowledge, you can modify your current strategies to cater to the needs of your audience, be it your potential or existing customers.
- With business intelligence software, companies can increase their market share. This is done by monitoring products, trends, and customer feedback to point out which areas need to be worked on.
- Adopting best practices by tapping into the data being stored by their applications (both online and on-premise), including spreadsheet software such as Microsoft Excel, and unlocking that data to provide valuable real-time knowledge and performance monitoring and management of key business processes.
Summing Up The Best Business Intelligence Software For SMBs
Be it budgeting, customer relations, or any other aspect of your business, small and medium-sized businesses require reporting tools to get a comprehensive overview regarding the current status of their company. With the best business intelligence tools, you can make sure that the changes you implement lead to the growth of your organization.
So, dig through the list of business intelligence tools named below, learn about them, compare their strengths and weaknesses, read the reviews (and leave one if you can), and find the one that best suits your needs.
Of course, this is our take on the best BI tools for small businesses, we want you to contribute your informed research as well. Leave a rating and a review for any platform that you are currently using.
Note: There are micro-niches within the category of data visualization that you can also check out. Please see our reviews of the best data visualization software, best open source bi software, best cloud BI tools, best enterprise BI tools, and best self-service BI solutions.
8 Best Business Intelligence (BI) Tools for Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) in 2023
1. Microsoft Power BI
Microsoft Power BI is a cloud-based data analytics and visualization tool that allows users to connect to various data sources, including Excel spreadsheets, cloud-based and on-premise data warehouses, and web services. Power BI has a user-friendly interface and a wide range of visualization options, making it ideal for SMBs that need to create informative dashboards quickly.
2. Qlik Sense
Qlik Sense is a self-service data visualization tool that helps SMBs analyze data from multiple sources. Qlik Sense has a highly interactive and intuitive user interface, which means that SMBs can create insights easily. With Qlik Sense, SMBs can use advanced analytics, such as predictive modeling and natural language processing, to make informed decisions.
Klipfolio is a cloud-based dashboard and data analytics tool that allows SMBs to track key performance indicators (KPIs) from multiple data sources. With Klipfolio, SMBs can create custom dashboards that are easy to use and understand, making it ideal for business owners who lack technical skills. Klipfolio also has various integration options, including Salesforce, Google Analytics, and QuickBooks.
4. Looker Studio
Looker Studio is a cloud-based data analytics and visualization tool that allows SMBs to create and share customized data reports. Looker Studio has a user-friendly interface and a drag-and-drop feature, making it easy for SMBs to create and analyze data. With Looker Studio, businesses can run ad-hoc queries and gain insights into their data.
5. Zoho Analytics
Zoho Analytics is a cloud-based data analytics and visualization tool that allows SMBs to track and analyze business metrics from various data sources. Zoho Analytics has a user-friendly interface, and users can create insightful dashboards without any technical knowledge. Zoho Analytics also has an AI-powered assistant, Zia, which provides contextual insights and automates data preparation tasks.
Metabase is an open-source data visualization and analytics tool that allows SMBs to create custom dashboards and reports. Metabase has a simple user interface and a powerful query editor that can analyze data from various sources. With Metabase, SMBs can build charts, graphs, and tables to get insights into their data.
7. Amazon QuickSight
Amazon Quicksight is a cloud-based data analytics and visualization tool that allows SMBs to analyze data from various sources, including Amazon Web Services (AWS) data services, third-party databases, and Salesforce. QuickSight has a user-friendly interface, and SMBs can create customized dashboards and analytics without any coding skills.
DashboardFox is a self-hosted data analytics and visualization tool that allows SMBs to connect to various data sources, including Excel spreadsheets, SQL databases, and cloud-based data sources. With DashboardFox, SMBs can create custom dashboards, reports, and visualizations to gain insights into their data.
More About DashboardFox
In conclusion, selecting the right Business Intelligence (BI) tools can save SMBs time and money, especially when analyzing data and making informed decisions.
The eight BI tools discussed in this article are highly affordable, easy to use, and offer advanced features that can help SMBs gain insights into their data. By leveraging these tools, SMBs can become more competitive in their respective markets and achieve their business goals.
We have already highlighted how DashboardFox can help small and medium businesses with their daily operations, but we have another ace up our sleeve.
We also offer a one-time payment scheme which is perfect because you only need to pay once, and you can use it forever, unlimited! This is great because you don’t have to worry about maintaining a subscription, and you can use it freely whenever, wherever.