How Much Not Having a BI Solution Costs Your Company

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When you need to make a decision or fix a problem, how available is your data with your current analytics setup? Is it a five-minute wait to get what you need? A two-day wait? A week-long wait? Longer? The longer you wait for the data you need, the more growth opportunities you miss. With a business intelligence solution, important data can be available instantly, even if you're an SMB.

Business intelligence (BI) has been a buzzword for years now. Because of the cost associated with setting up your own BI solution, it used to be something only large companies with large budgets could afford to have. Smaller companies lacking the resources, budget, and knowledge for BI struggled to compete. The rudimentary and time-consuming tools available to them left them dreaming of the day when they could become an effectively data-driven company.

Gartner’s Research Vice President Rita Sallam stated, "Self-service data integration will... reduce the significant time and complexity users face in preparing their data for analysis and shift much of the activity from IT to the business user to better support governed data discovery." Basically, data analysis and discovery with a self service BI tool is more and more becoming something individuals without technical training can do.

Advances in data processing, storage, visualization, and more allow SMBs to enjoy the significant benefits of BI and analytics they used to dream about. Cloud computing has reduced the competitive gap that existed between large companies and SMBs. With so many affordable BI solutions now available, the financial cost of implementing a BI solution should still be considered. However, a major aspect to consider is how much it costs your company to run without a BI solution.

Time and Labor Costs

You need performance reports to run your company effectively. These reports help you answer important questions. How well is sales performing? What are the results of the latest marketing campaign? What is the current state of your financials? Are your customers satisfied with your products? Those along with many other questions need to be answered if you’re going to run a profitable and efficient company.

Someone has to put in the time and effort to gather the information to answer all of those questions. It might be you or it could be a member from each department. No matter who it is, the reality is that one or several people will spend a significant amount of time creating those reports. To add a little more perspective, consider how often you need/want an update on the answers to previously mentioned questions? Weekly, monthly, quarterly, or all of the previously mentioned times?

Calculating the cost in time and money required to create those essential reports can produce some alarming results. It doesn’t have to be this way. Report automation available with a BI solution equates to an average ROI of 188% by removing manual report production, saving time, and reducing errors.

Report automation frees up employees so they can spend their time interpreting data and looking for solutions to problems or improvements to current systems or products.

Decision Costs

Running a business with incomplete information costs you the ability to make more decisions that lead to wins. How often do you make decisions with incomplete or minimal data? Without a real-time BI solution to help with analytics, it happens way more than it should.

How many times do you have the data you requested but realize you need to take things in a different direction. To get the data you need to ensure you make the best possible decision, you could be waiting a significant amount of time. Or, you could continue on without the data. Ideal real-time BI tools allow for quick ad hoc analysis if you need additional data on a specific point.  

Agility and Competitive Costs

Running a business with slow information costs you the ability to make quick pivots. In today’s business market changes and problems surface suddenly. Your ability to catch and address problems needs to be just as fast. If you have a slow analytics solution, you’ll be slow to catch problems and mistakes, and even slower in addressing and fixing them.

In a 2016 Harvey Nash / KPMG survey, improving agility and responsiveness was one of the top three reasons CIOs cited for adopting cloud computing. People are accustomed to quick solutions to their problems. If you can’t react quickly enough, you will lose customers and revenue.

Easy access to analytics makes companies five times more likely to make faster decisions. On top of that, a recent Aberdeen report found that 63% of best-in-class companies using BI experienced an improvement in time-to-decision over the past 12 months.

Monetary costs

All of the previously mentioned items impact the a company’s revenue and expenses. There are other additional impacts that BI has on revenue. Not using BI could be costing you these benefits.

Thanks to cloud analytics the burden of gathering, sorting, and making sense of company data is breaking away from IT and becoming something each department can do. This shift is empowering each department to focus specifically on their data for easier and better insights about their performance. Empowering each department creates impressive benefits.

According to a study by McKinsey, leveraging analytics creates a 126% profit improvement over competitors. A Dell study shows that companies leveraging analytics experience 50% higher revenue growth. According to Nucleus research, the average returns for using analytics are increasing. In 2011, the average return for every dollar spent on analytics was $10.66. In 2014, that number jumped to $13.01. As the capabilities and ease of use of cloud computing increase, that number should continue to rise.

Simple and Affordable BI

The advances in and increasing numbers of BI tool providers powered by cloud computing is changing the analytics game for SMBs. What required hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars of investment for companies, and a considerable wait, is now possible with a credit card and a few mouse clicks and brief implementation. Today, organizations can discover data-backed solutions with minimal to no assistance from IT.

To learn more about how a BI solution can help you, check out Grow and schedule a free demo today.

 About the Author

Jake Young leads the sales and marketing teams at Grow. In just two years, Jake grew an effective team of three into a high-performing team of over 30. His efforts helped Grow become one of the top 20 fastest growing SaaS companies in the nation. Jake has also been recognized as one of the premier sales leaders in SaaS and is helping Grow expand internationally.

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