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When it comes to data collection and analysis, the traditional thinking has been that it’s an investment reserved for larger companies with larger budgets. But today the reality is that every company can not only benefit from taking a closer look at their data, any company that doesn’t is actually missing out on opportunities to grow.

Business analysis is nothing new but its prevalence in the smaller mainstream market is a newer development. This is thanks, in large part, to the ease with which data can now be collected and interpreted. In fact, today’s smaller companies are in a better position to use data wisely than larger companies have been in the past.

Ultimately, data is useful because it helps to create something called business intelligence, or BI. BI helps companies grow by using information to make better-informed decisions. Seems pretty common sense, doesn’t it? So why are so many small businesses afraid to jump in?

That was the question the industry faced until advancements in database coding and software integration became commonplace. Now there are a number of software companies that develop new programs with this in mind.

Today, a company can combine their inventory management and sales programs in order to develop reports that act as sales forecasting tools. With this, they can better plan their marketing, purchasing and even shipping options in order to streamline sales, increase their customer base and improve the work flow in every department. Basically, data is more than power — it’s control for business owners.

The power of data boils down to being in control — the more you know, the better your decisions can be. With data more accessible than ever before, there’s simply no reason for any company to be without the insight and advantage data analysis and integrated Business Intelligence can offer.