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As a small business, you want to be able to analyze data in the same way that a large organization wants to analyze data. Unfortunately a lot of data analysis tools cost upwards of $100,000 to implement, coupled with additional staff to work with the data analysis tools. This is simply not feasible for small business owners. We have taken a look at some data analysis tools that may help increase business intelligence through the use of inventory control and other data analysis methods.

  1. Wolfram Alpha — This is a website that contains mass data and algorithms which allow information to be deduced from almost any topic you can think of. A particularly note-worthy service they offer is Facebook analytics. If your small business has a Facebook page, Wolfram Alpha can determine:
  • Who are the people who frequent your page most often
  • The demographic that these people fall into
  • How they accessed your page (e.g. through friends etc.)

As Wolfram Alpha is a free service, any small business that uses a personal Facebook page would be advised to use it. If you want a larger set of data, the pro version costs $4.99 a month.

  1. OpenRefine — This is a data compiling software that helps you deal with messy data. By “messy” data, we mean data that hasn’t been given a lot of attention. For example, if you had a number of data entries with the same name and some were spelled wrong. OpenRefine has a feature that allows clusters of similarly spelled words to be grouped together. This is a particularly helpful tool for preparing data for analysis. OpenRefine is an open source tool that is free for all to use.
  1. Google Analytics Application Gallery — This is essentially an app market for data analytics apps. This is a great place for small business owners to get to know more about data analytics and the additional inventory control business intelligence they can gain from data analytics. The apps vary in price but none are outside the budget of a small business owner.

For further data analysis tools for various small business types, read the following article.