It's no secret that data is dominating our lives in terms of business intelligence (BI) and network systems across the globe. From large companies to multi-national conglomerates, BI adoption is taking over.
However, there it appears that a significant disparity exists among small business owners in terms of adopting business and analytics tools.
While utilizing business intelligence software is essential in helping organizations make better, more cost-effective decisions on the fly, it seems that small business owners and solopreneurs alike stand to benefit more from implementing them rather than continue running things “as usual.”
Business intelligence is well-noted for its role in meeting narrow margins, increasing customer expectation, and leveling out the playing field at the global level.
In this article, we are sharing what business intelligence is and why our smaller economic organizations are hesitant to adopt them even though more are joining the playing field.
What Is Business Intelligence (BI)?
Business intelligence (BI) is a system of tools that business managers and entrepreneurs use to gain insight into their organizations using an acute analysis of data. BI adoption typically involves compiling your company's raw data, such as sales and customer information, into a data repository or warehouse, and then migrating it with the BI software tools that can spin it into valuable, useful information.
BI tools are capable of analyzing your small or independently owned business from multiple perspectives that may include marketing, accounting, logistics, and sales.
Companies leverage the power of BI software when they can utilize data from across departments and business units under a unified dashboard that provides meaning to the individual analyzing it.
Added Features and Benefits of Deploying a BI Solution
Business intelligence tools are also useful in measuring and monitoring your company's benchmarking standards. In short, business intelligence is an essential tool for survival in today's small business world since more and more companies at the local level are adopting it.
To remain competitive, small business owners fair to stand better than their competitors when they implement these systems. However, there are barriers to participation within the context of small business and business intelligence systems.
In the next section, let’s further explore what is causing this disconnect.
What Causes Barriers to Adopting BI Tools Among Small Business Owners?
One of the most significant problems that small business owners face, in terms of adopting BI tools and systems, heavily centers on the unskilled human capital available.
Just an FYI, systems and database administrators aren’t cheap. Even massive, dot com companies like Oracle, SAP, and IBM, require a professional and fully-trained database administrator to implement and manage their systems.
This need does not align with the budget and operational concerns of small and independent business owners. Many don't hire a single IT person.
When It Comes To Business Intelligence, Is It Better to Go Cheaper or Go Home?
Unfortunately, business managers turn to lower-priced options as their solution, and it does not necessarily provide the value for which they were hoping.
This assertion is particularly true of older legacy systems like Crystal Reports which are affordable but require a high level of technical expertise. Unfortunately, new and modern systems like Microsoft Power BI also have a low cost, but a higher total cost of ownership as we described here.
A Skilled IT Staff for Small Businesses Isn't Always Possible
Not to mention that without a skilled IT person on staff, you may not be able to access your data remotely. Does that even make sense in today’s connected world?
Therefore, many small business owners end up throwing in the towel before reaching the finish line. And as you can see, there are a ton of reasons why.
Business Intelligence Onboarding Requires an Initial Investment
Another barrier to participation includes the time and energy it takes to establish a new system, compile data, and then integrate it with the more modern information technology environment.
This task alone can send small business owners, who are already strapped for time, running for the hills when coupled with the costs of deploying a robust system in the first place.
Where Most Small Business Owners Fail With BI
Here is the biggest mistake that we see most small business owners make when it comes to adopting business intelligence for their organization. The biggest mistake that we see is that small business owners tend to rush the process.
While it is essential to implement these systems promptly rather than let the issue linger, you do not want to take a giant leap or bite off more than you can chew.
Many organizations jump in with a BI vendor on a monthly or annual subscription basis and then when the value of the product stalls, they are still faced with paying the expensive bill. The subscription is canceled, the BI effort ends in failure, and it leaves a sore spot to trying again in the future to repeat the cycle.
Final Thoughts and Considerations on Barriers to Adopting Business Intelligence for Small Business
Business intelligence, or BI, is at the forefront of today’s technologies needs to help us manage our businesses more efficiently and effectively.
While small businesses are typically last to adopt commercial systems, there are several reasons for this occurrence, including a lack of skilled workforce, limited budget constraints, and the inability to manage the onboarding process.
The good news is small business owners can mitigate the overwhelm of BI adoption by breaking the implementation process into smaller, bite-sized chunks rather than try to implement a data hub in one fell swoop.
Things take time and finesse. The most successful small businesses tend to deploy the help of experienced professionals to assist them in moving forward.
Consider Working with DashboardFox for Your Small Business Intelligence Needs
We've designed our tools to have a low cost of purchase but even more importantly a low cost of ownership.
It was designed for business users, not highly skilled IT people (although they love it too as it reduces the burden of report writing so they can do more valuable things).
But more importantly, our team consists of experts not only in our software but in how small businesses can make the most from business intelligence.
Reach out to us to start a discussion and see how we can help you, get the benefits of BI.