Small Business Intelligence Tools – BI or BS

By: | Category: ERP

I remember when I saw Business Intelligence (BI) for the first time. It had to be 8-9 years ago, at a fancy event in a NY Hotel sponsored by Crystal Decisions the maker of Crystal Reports. It was right around the time they were acquired by a Business Objects a French Company that was later acquired by SAP.

At the event BI was heralded as the greatest thing since the light bulb and promised to be on the desk of every business owner and executive in the world.  Jon Judge, then the President and CEO of Crystal Decisions said “This is the defining moment for the business intelligence industry.”

Well as I have come to learn over the years. These technologies often take a lot longer to be adopted then some might expect. The BI that was promoted then never really made it into the SMB space.

Fast forward to 2011 and we have a whole new crop of BI tools built around, no not Crystal Reports, but Excel.  The good news is that many of them work pretty well.  People like working in Excel a lot more than Crystal. Newer technology is making the whole process a lot easier.

At a recent Sage ERP MAS 90 User Group hosted by Net at Work users were gaga over an new BI tool called Dataself by a company of the same name. Dataself has developed some very good BI tools that live up to their claim that you can create complex reports “faster than it takes to eat a donut.”  It is true, I have seen it happen. This product works with the entire line of Sage ERP products.

Then there is the new Sage Intelligence product, SMI if you are in the Sage MAS ERP world, and SAI if you are in the Sage Accpac ERP world.  We have been helping a number of clients to adopt this product.  It is a work in process that keeps getting better and better. There are a few others that look good, like BizNet.

So what’s the bottom line here?  Well a 2010 Gartner study revealed that one of the top five things that business owners were planning to do to expand in these challenging new economic times was adopt and use better BI tools.  So where are you at? The tools are affordable.  Ready to give one a try?  Give us a call.