Cloud Business Apps

Three Ways Business Intelligence Solutions Can Innovate Your Small Business

Rakesh Sharma
By
Published on 19 November 2012
Found in Tips & Lists

In the past, we have written about and reviewed several business intelligence solutions. Business Intelligence solutions help you analyze, define and design custom strategies for your customers.

However, BI solutions can do this and much more. If you care to think outside the box, then business intelligence solutions can help you push the envelope. Here are three ways how:

Think Beyond Spreadsheets

For several years now, Microsoft excel has been a favorite productivity and analysis tool for small businesses. Excel is ubiquituous and portable. However, handling large amounts of data with the tool can become especially cumbersome and affect productivity. The problem is especially magnified when you are dealing with an industry which depends on feedback from a large subscriber base to finetune existing products and design new ones.

Like Brazilian television network Globo, for instance.

The Problem

Globo switched from Excel to Zoho Reports to increase productivity and save costs. According to a senior manager at Globo, all analytic processes at the network station were performed manually earlier. Besides causing email churn, the manual processes also affected system scalability as spikes in subscriber base were accompanied with increasingly complicated and large excel sheets.

The Solution

Switching to Zoho has simplified the process. The simplified interface ensures that Globo employees can do more with less. Thus, they can complete tasks in a relatively shorter time and process increasing amounts of data with minimal fuss. The previous assertion, by the way, is qualified by the fact that forty people are actively using Zoho Reports to report against 8.5 million rows of data.

Think About Empowering Customers

An empowered customer is a happy customer. Business Intelligence solutions, such as Birst, empower customers by informing business owners about their choices and preferences. For some companies, which are themselves in the business of serving others, cloud-based BI solutions can speed up processes and, in turn, empower their customers.

Take the case of one of Birst’s customers, for example.

The Problem

Altair Customer Intelligence combines a customer’s existing databases with its proprietary demographic data to provide actionable intelligence to customers. Once their analysis is complete, Altair specialists send spreadsheets containing results of their analysis to customers. However, the process was riddled with problems.

It causes much email churn between customers and analysts. The more important problem relates to the spreadsheet’s limited real-estate. Altair’s customers often come back with questions for more detail and information regarding the analysis. As a result, the process created a dependency on analysts as a repository of information.

The Solution

The use of Birst has simplified the process.

The solution works in three steps: define sources whether it is an excel spreadsheet or another SaaS system such as Salesforce, process data or set attributes to define criteria, and manage access or invite customers or stakeholders to view data.

Besides solving the problem of email churn, Birst also provided a centralized location for analysts to create client data models and customized report templates. The final product, which was deployed to the website, was made accessible to customers via selective access. The centralized access ensures that clients can drill down to specific levels of detail using the solution.

Think About System Integration

Business Intelligence Solutions depend on data sourced from multiple systems, including third party systems and excel sheets. Whether it is a spreadsheet or from an external source, data has to be portable and accessible between systems. Systems such as Yurbi.com offer integrations with external systems. The solution’s flagship product, Yurbi connect, offers configurable workflow processes that integrate data sources and applications. This integration can especially be helpful in automating manual processes and driving efficiency.

In some cases, the intervention can be simple and solves simple problems. In others, complex problems involving multiple systems are solved.

The Problem

One of Yurbi’s customers automated a manual process using the solution. The customer received a set of email attachments each night, which were then saved to a file system directory for processing. The problem was that this entire process was manual and time consuming.

The Solution

To solve this problem, Yurbi connect configured a special email Inbox to download the email and automatically place the attachments into the file system.

In other cases, complex problems are solved.

Yurbi integrates with several IT helpdesk solutions such as HP Service manager. This integration enables users to create ad-hoc or scheduled, customized reports and dashboards using data gleaned from helpdesk systems. Needless to add, this data is invaluable and can lead to new insights about customers. In addition, it helps drive change management service level agreement reports, compliance and accuracy, trend reports and much more.

The Bottomline

With a little bit of imagination and creativity, you can make business intelligence solutions find new insights about your business. You can find a complete list of business intelligence solutions available at Getapp here.

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