4 min read

Why BI for Small Businesses?

By Jon Thompson on May 15, 2020 4:32:54 PM MDT

Bill Gates

Why does the average small company need business intelligence? Almost without exception, every business produces a lot of data, and that data contains insights that can provide accountability and direction. That data, if wielded properly, can revolutionize a company’s day-to-day operations and profoundly impact the bottom line. You can run a business on intuition and reaction (we all do sometimes), but well-informed decision-making and planning – an intentional, data-driven approach to business – can be the difference that transforms your business.

To optimize your chances of success, you need a clear picture of what’s happening in your business in real-time. A report on last quarter’s performance metrics may simply be too late to help. Our experience at Blue Margin and that of our clients has made us believers that real-time, graphical, highly visible (in your face), and "easy to consume" insights into your business provide a huge business advantage. 

The All-Important "So what now?"

download.jpgOK, so hopefully I’ve made my case and you’re now ready to get your hands dirty with BI.  But here's a quick reality check:  the panacea where business executives each manipulate their own pivot tables and data models to produce analyses to their hearts’ content has not yet arrived (unless you have an executive who happens to be an Excel expert as well, like this guy). 


To take advantage of Excel’s business intelligence tools, a company needs 20080915-piechart.jpgto commit some resources to train an Excel professional in-house, or hire outside help to build the reporting they need. But this is still a revolution. Compared to the cost of traditional BI, it's a "drop in the bucket" for an SMB to invest in the resources needed to harness the raw material already in their business, and compete at a level that simply wasn’t possible until now.  Once the data model and reporting functions are in place, keeping it up to date, and running new reports is a virtual piece of cake (or pie, since there is no such thing as a cake chart). 

At the risk of being a Microsoft cheerleader, it's worth pointing out that it is a big deal that Microsoft has made business intelligence available to the small and medium business through the familiar and ubiquitous medium of Excel. No, it is no longer hyperbole to state that big data is now available to the SMB, and those that don't take advantage of it are doing themselves a disservice.

If you have any questions about business intelligence or want to find out how Blue Margin uses Power BI to drive their business, feel free to contact us anytime.

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Jon Thompson

Written by Jon Thompson

Jon Thompson is co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Blue Margin Inc. An author and speaker, Jon sheds light on how businesses can take advantage of a revolution in business intelligence to become data-driven and accelerate their success.