by Jeremiah Johnson
Having the right information at the right time can be the advantage that means the difference between success and failure.
Business intelligence (BI) provides great insight into how a business is being run, as well as which aspects of the business are succeeding and which are failing. A properly implemented BI system can provide a comprehensive breakdown of sales, and allows managers to react to an ever-shifting market. However, smaller and mid-sized businesses tend to get the short end of the stick when it comes to business intelligence, as most of the hardware and software for effective business intelligence was too expensive for smaller organizations.
In today's recessive market, mid-market organizations need all the help they can get in terms of having as much data about their business as possible. Having the right information at the right time helps a business be more agile and adapt far more effectively to a rapidly changing business environment, which can be the advantage that means the difference between success and failure.
Luckily, many software providers are recognizing that BI is a niche that can be filled for mid-sized companies, and a wide range of affordable BI products for mid-sized companies is flooding the market. Large developers such as Oracle, Microsoft and SAP are all producing BI products specifically aimed at mid-sized organizations. Other smaller vendors such as Qlikview and Tableau are also targeting the mid-market. Finding the right solution for your business can be quite overwhelming.
One of the most important features of many BI software suites is the ability to generate insightful automated reports based on performance triggers. In any business where a culture of information is key, having timely delivery of information is vital. When choosing what BI solution would best suit your business, consider that companies with the highest rated performance were those that had identified areas of their business that would benefit most from BI. These companies then used BI to create tools that reported and analyzed data from these areas, as well as data integration and performance reporting dashboards which showed the health of that particular business unit in very clear detail. This information could trigger rapid and timely decisions which can increase performance exponentially.
All the large organizations have released business intelligence suites. Oracle has developed the Oracle Business Intelligence Standard Edition One which is designed to appeal to mid-market companies and is priced accordingly. The Oracle BI software is powerful and can create a plethora of formatted reports and tickers that will allow the user to instantly see the state of the business with a minimum of fuss. To prevent new users from having trouble using the system, most Oracle BI applications are complete and pre-built, with intuitive and easy to master user interfaces that will guarantee that everybody in the business, from the employees to senior management can use the software to get data that will enable everybody to make better decisions and optimize business processes. Users will have lots of control, and will be able to create their own searches and queries and then analyze the data and present it in a number of different formats which can then be distributed to all relevant personnel via the BI Publisher. This is a very powerful tool that a lot of mid-market companies can use and will help give them the competitive edge.
Some of the advantages of Oracle's Business Intelligence Standard Edition One includes the ability to integrate a number of different data sources into a single view, the ability to view a number of vital metrics as well as the ability to choose exactly which components you want to start with, which can be further fleshed out as your business grows and changes. These features are ideal for mid-market businesses that need flexibility in their software and still need a lot of data presented quickly and efficiently.