Data collection and business analysis remain two vital areas small businesses do not often utilize wisely. The fact is, few small companies invest the time in gathering and analyzing business intelligence because they don’t think it can be used on a small scale. But this simply couldn’t be further from the truth.

This belief comes from the origins of business intelligence. When this area was first being developed it focused mainly on companies with extravagant budgets for IT department and analysists since the sheer volume of data being looked at was staggering. The process was costly in terms of time, labor and money. As a result, it truly was something only big business could functionally use.

But today it’s a whole new ball game. Advances in software packages, integration techniques and cloud capabilities have created more competition in the field of simple business intelligence for small businesses. As any business owner knows — when there’s more competition there’s also more diversity.

There are now a number of software and service options that can deliver simple business intelligence for small businesses. The term simple data in this sense doesn’t mean bare bones or minimalistic, though. It simply refers to its ease and accessibility — because business intelligence is anything but bare bones.

The information and inspiration a company can gain from business intelligence can improve workflow, increase customer satisfaction and boost profits. Business intelligence gives owners and managers a view of how the company works on a grand scale. Far reaching impacts of one area can be easily seen when people are able to step back and see how everything from warehouse purchasing to marketing interacts with one another.

No matter what a company’s size, having a bird’s eye view to a company’s overall operation offers a unique and powerful perspective. This gives small business the ability to really compete on a larger scale — even against the Big Boys.