BI for small businesses: be clued-up or get slowed-down

Neil Baxter Jan 26, 2015 9:00:15 AM

Business Intelligence is vital for growing businesses.

Developing businesses need to sort through, categorise and understand data very quickly, in order to make the right decisions, in the right time.

However, before tackling the issue of how business can make sense of their data, the first question to ask is, where is your data?

How do you capture your most valuable commodity, your information?

Where is the Data?

If your business is not in the habit of properly recording the information coming into the business, then the valuable feedback is lost and there is no point in worrying about how to analyse anything.

Whilst any business is obviously required to carefully record financial information, to a certain extent, how granular are the figures when you want to see which customers or industries provide you with the most profitable returns and in which geographical areas?.

All kinds of potential measurements and indicators may be lost if customer data, sales opportunities, marketing information, location-based data, project milestones, or stock levels are not kept properly.

The common curse of the spreadsheet is often to blame here, or even those staff that prefer to keep the information in their heads (for a variety of reasons).

If your employees are forced to find their own ways to deal with information, either through lack of training and guidance, or through the basic absence of an intuitive system to record information, then getting the right information together will be nearly impossible.

From the outset, there must exist a culture of valuing (and therefore recording) information in a conscientious manner and this data should ideally reside in one central repository.

A company’s data is what defines it and that data should be respected.

For the ideal platform for a data repository, Oracle Application Express (APEX) is a Rapid Application Development framework, that is included with (and resides within) Oracle Database, the world leader in relational database technology.

Business Agility

Once this central repository of information is established, maintained and used. The businesses that have systems in place to analyse this valuable asset rapidly, will outperform and ultimately survive their rivals.

This is truer than ever, as the sophistication of available business intelligence (BI) technology improves all the time, even small businesses may find it difficult to ‘keep up with the Jones’’.

To keep pace with the market and the competition, business managers must be enabled to make decisions in real-time. Even when they have the right data immediately to hand, they may not have the means to make sense of it in time to make effective use of it and a growing business needs to be able to understand the present as well as predict the future.

Being able to pinpoint exactly when to order new materials, when to hire more temporary staff, when to raise or to lower prices is vital. Where should you locate a new office or retail unit during the good times, which locations should you shut down during the bad times?

Business intelligence enables business agility.

Oracle Application Express (APEX) has outstanding reporting capabilities and works exceptionally well with Oracle BI Publisher.

Please see our article on Oracle APEX for Ad Hoc Querying, Reporting & Data Analysis and on Oracle APEX and Oracle BI Publisher: A Perfect Match, for more information.



Author: Neil Baxter

Job Title: Oracle Account Manager

Bio: Neil has fulfilled a number of customer-facing roles in the technology industry, from Account Management to Solution Management. He has many years of experience in advising on bespoke solutions, having even been responsible for implementing and configuring timesheet, CRM, and project management software in his time. At DSP-Explorer, Neil is very focussed on presenting the commercial benefits of the solutions that our development team can provide, with particular emphasis on the Oracle Application Express (APEX) platform.