Business Intelligence. You’ve heard of it—but do you know what it is? Ranging from Excel add-ons to multi-million dollar products, BI tools can be as simple or as complex as you need them. This sheer diversity of products often makes the decision overwhelming for business leaders who are tasked with selecting one of the hundreds of options for them.

What is Business Intelligence?

As introduced in the Business Software Education Center’s Glossary of Software terms, Business Intelligence (BI) software is the information a business collects about itself. This can include a very broad swath of data, which is why businesses often need business intelligence software. These programs let companies keep all their BI data in one place so that it is easier to access and analyze.

In simpler terms, business intelligence software connects data from a variety of sources and allows for easy analysis. Though the benefits of the solution are obvious—knowledge is power—many companies think that such solutions are hard to implement, reserved only for the largest of entities, or complicated to use. 

Three Reasons Companies of All Sizes Benefit from BI Solutions

Unfortunately, the companies who decide against BI for any of those reasons mentioned above aren’t seeing the entire picture. Whether they think they’re too small or believe that a BI implementation is too risky or complicated, leaders who eschew BI software are missing the point. Here are just three of the many reasons BI can work for anyone:

BI Initiatives Are Incredibly Successful

Compared to many solutions—where implementations are invasive and often require a massive cultural change to take maximum effect—nearly every company gains something from a BI implementation.

In fact, while it’s estimated that anywhere from 25 to 75% of ERP projects fail to deliver on expectations, a recent Dresner Advisory study found that BI initiatives provide a lower risk and higher reward. According to their “BI Success Index,” which calculates successful business intelligence (BI) initiatives as a percentage of all BI initiatives, 85 percent of those making the move deem it successful.

Business Intelligence is Popular

If one thing is certain, it’s this: The Business Intelligence market is hot. With the global business intelligence market predicted to nearly double from $15.64 billion in 2016 to reach $29.48 billion by 2022 according to Stratistics MRC, it’s likely that your competitors are getting on board.

Added to this, there is an immense diversity in the business intelligence platforms available depending on the size of the organization, technological maturity of the employees, and budget. Paired with the amount of customization that can go into these solutions, there’s often an option for you.

Business Intelligence is Accessible

A decade ago, Google Chief Economist and Founding Dean of the UC Berkeley School of Information Hal Varian predicted that the next big job would be statistician. He wasn’t exactly wrong—most data scientists can name their price in the job market. 

The one thing he didn’t predict is just how smart, user friendly, and accessible the solutions would become. For small and mid-sized enterprises, advancements in technology have allowed new users the ability to understand business intelligence products, empowering them to run reports and make increasingly complicated queries without needing to know ‘how the sausage is made’ so to speak.

It Might Be More Affordable Than You Think

For every company that uses it (correctly), business intelligence uncovers new insights, derives information from an expanding pool of data sources, and helps leaders do more with their reports. One of the biggest issues many have is how much they think it costs.

However, it comes as a surprise to many just how affordable it may be. In fact, one of the strange ironies we’ve experienced is that our BI solution of choice is overlooked because of its affordability. In our blog, “Is Power BI for You?”, our very own Ian Silber explored this, noting:

“Interestingly, when I speak to someone from a larger company about Power BI they are usually interested.  But a funny thing happens when they learn the cost associated to the product.  Since there is no initial large purchase required, and the product price varies from free to just under ten dollars a month per user, they assume that it is a simple and not very advanced tool.  How could it be any good?  Any product that promises such functionality, and results, especially one from Microsoft has to cost much more.  There must be a catch.”

There’s no catch, Power BI is that good. Whether you have a small company, or a larger company, Power BI is a product that is as powerful as the imagination.  If that data exists somewhere in your database it can be tweezed out and sliced into a vast variety of reports and visualizations that can help to grow, and possibly even help to save, a business. 

Get to know more by reading our free guide, 5 Key Considerations When Implementing a Modern BI and schedule a free consultation with a BI expert today!