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Today, business operations, right from product concept to sales and marketing, is influenced by consumer behavior. So, it has become very important for businesses to collect and analyse data related to the behavior of their target customers. From social networking sites to data from smart phones, there are innumerable sources businesses are choosing to collect consumer data. But can businesses benefit by merely collecting data? Of course not! Renowned physicist and philosopher Albert Einstein quoted that information is not knowledge and this principle is equally applicable to modern day businesses.

Merely collecting data is not sufficient for the business as they need to gain valuable insights into the data and use this information to the benefit of their business. It has been seen that though most small and medium businesses (SMBs) have realized the importance of data collection, they are still unable to analyse the data and use its potential. This is the business intelligence gap that small businesses are facing.

For every business, it is very important to gain insight into the data and use those insights to run their business more effectively and efficiently. The critical success metrics for every business should be easily quantifiable and measurable. But, in most cases, too much of data ends in resulting business owners and they find it challenging to comprehend data and make business decisions. Technology is making it easier for businesses to analyse data with analytical solutions. These analytical solutions are designed to help businesses in understanding and making sense out of the data available to them.

To close the business intelligence gap, a business needs to

  • Ensure that it has an accurate, accessible and consistent data source.
  • Ensure that data coming from different data sources is rational.
  • Ensure that it has business intelligence (BI) solution to analyze the data.

When it comes to collection and analysis of data, businesses should not rely on intuitions and hunches. If you reply on hunches, there is high probability that you may miss out on trends, opportunities or overlook potential problems. Before opting for a BI solution, you need to build a core foundation and that core foundation is the data. Data collected should be accessible and trustworthy, and easily shared across your different business platforms. For insights into the data, you need to invest in the right BI tools. These BI tools should be selected taking into consideration your business goals, metrics you want to measure and overall economy.

Remember, ask questions! Right from data collection to selection of BI tools, keep asking questions so that you are able to figure out what is best for your business.

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