What Is the Best BI Platform for Small Business?

Business intelligence software solutions are critical to processing business data efficiently. This article will analyze the role of such a solution for small businesses.

The purpose of the business intelligence platform

Business intelligence (BI) is the tools (dashboards, graphs, charts, and tables) that specialists use to collect data about the company and its subsequent analysis. CEOs, business analysts, and project managers can work with business analysis tools. This data helps them understand what is happening within the organization and the industry as a whole and draw up an optimal plan for the development of the enterprise. Business analysis works with different industries: finance, manufacturing, insurance, wholesale and retail trade. Previously, these tools were used only by large companies, but today medium or small businesses cannot do without brand analytics.

BI platforms are types of application software that collect and efficiently process large volumes of structured and unstructured data from internal or external systems, including data sources such as CRM, ERP, SCM, BPM, VDR, and other business sources. As a result, BI allows organizations to access information critical to success in multiple areas, including sales, finance, marketing, and a host of other areas and departments.

Basic elements of the BI platform

BI platform as a software tool integrates data mining, inbound visualization, database tools, and infrastructure, and best practices to help leaders make more decisions based on real-world performance. A typical BI system for a small or medium business consists of the following elements:

  • ETL process (Extract, Transform, Load). It is the name of a set of tools that connect to data sources, collect information from them, convert them to the required quality, and load them into the system.
  • Data warehouses are databases that store analytical information from all sources, cleaned of unnecessary and logically connected.
  • BI systems (BI applications). It allows users to connect from an external interface and work with data in a graphical or tabular form.
  • Client part – applications that users work with, developing and using reports.

Business analytics as a system is not implemented and configured for a simple visualization tool like a Dashboard but is built in as a tool for managing company processes. Therefore, a strategy for implementing BI within the organization is preliminarily developed.

Tableau – the best BI software option for a small company

Choosing a BI platform and analytics can be a lengthy process. There are countless vendors to choose from that seem to offer the same features and make similar promises.

Tableau is a good alternative to such software. A business intelligence tool allows businesses to track and report on their KPIs through a visually pleasing dashboard. Here it is possible to create dashboards and graphs that the service can automatically update. The platform works with different storage systems and tools: XML, Google Bigquery, Microsoft Azure, Excel, relational and non-relational databases, and also knows how to combine the information received.

Analysis of metrics and creation and personalization of visualizations (any graphs, charts, histograms, and their combinations) allow you to extract any data and make its processing fast and understandable. You can generate a single report from various sources, set KPIs, and more. The platform works with almost any device.

Performance metrics and benchmarking keep executives informed about progress towards business goals (effective business process management). Analytics allows you to quantify business processes to make better decisions, search for solutions, and accumulate business knowledge.