Many business intelligence (BI) tools are expensive, complex, and designed specifically for large enterprises that can afford dedicated teams to manage software and interpret data. However, there are BI tools that can be very useful for startups as well, even if companies don’t have it in their budgets to hire data analysts or train existing staff to learn the intricacies of BI applications.
With the fast pace of business and the importance of understanding market trends, there has never been a better time for startups to embrace BI systems. Keep reading to learn more about why startups should use BI and how they can benefit from the knowledge they gain.
What Is Business Intelligence?
Business intelligence is a set of tools that can help businesses make quick, fact-based decisions through a streamlined data collection and interpretation process. Instead of manually extracting data from spreadsheets, creating custom formulas, and designing and exporting graphs and charts, business intelligence can help startups collect this data in one place and provide opportunities for in-depth analysis.
With BI, companies can be empowered to increase revenue and streamline operations. This is possible by gathering and analyzing data from a wide variety of sources to forecast possible futures.
Is BI Different from Google Analytics, Excel, and CRM Solutions?
Excel, Google Analytics, and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools can work for startups in the early stages of testing prototypes and validating the market fit of their products. Heavy use of data reporting and analytics may not be essential at this point.
However, as your startup’s data collection and reporting needs expand, these tools may no longer fit your company. CRM software, Excel, and Google Analytics are often unable to integrate and analyze large amounts of data from multiple sources the way a business intelligence solution can.
How Can Business Intelligence Help Startups?
Business intelligence may seem more useful for large organizations with a lot of data to deal with, but even small businesses need to understand their data and turn it into usable insights.
Mike Duda is the Director of Business Intelligence at Canvas, a startup. He says, “I used to work at a company called SevOne, which currently has about $150 million in revenue and growing. Canvas is about one-tenth the size of SevOne, but we have 30 times the amount of data.” It doesn’t matter how small or large your business is—business intelligence can help you manage its data.
Startups can use BI when they launch new products or features to help identify and prioritize issues so the launch doesn’t end up behind schedule.
The ultimate goal of BI is to help companies make strategic, informed decisions in several key ways.
Identify Future Opportunities
BI tools—such as predictive analytics—can help startups respond swiftly to new opportunities and trends. Startups can also use statistical analysis to determine where their competitors are failing and detect gaps in the market.
Provide Customer Insights
Along with helping you learn your target audience’s pain points, BI can identify your most profitable customers and determine potential reasons for customer dissatisfaction through data mining, behavioral analytics, and location intelligence.
Reduce Resource Waste
A BI analysis tool can spot areas that do not add value to your startup—like labor, supply, or equipment costs—and help you eliminate potential areas of waste.
Offer Instant Access
BI solutions provide your startup with quick and easy access to reports and visual data. With the proliferation of mobile-first BI platforms, your team can access data outside the office—especially useful when you’re meeting with investors who want detailed and up-to-date numbers.
Improve Operational Efficiency
Tracking key performance indicators and real-time business metrics can help your startup team members know what works so they can be more efficient, which will improve your startup’s bottom line.
Now that you know your startup can benefit from BI solutions, it is important to closely examine the features different BI tools have to offer to determine the best fit for your business. Make sure the tool you choose will be able to track and aggregate all the data you need into a personalized, useful format that will benefit your business.