Business Intelligence for SMB’s Part 7: How much should SMB’s invest in BI?

So what should small and medium sized businesses invest in Business Intelligence? In the last decade where we have been supplying business intelligence solutions to tens of thousands of small and medium sized companies, one of the most topical points has been around how customers perceive value and what they are willing to pay for BI.

It is worth noting that the true value or return on investment in an ERP or accounting system really comes from the information that you get out of it. Most companies need to process customer and supplier invoices, control stock, move inventory, process journals etc., and this is a given in most cases. The top pain point is often reporting, or frustrations around getting appropriate information out of the systems they have already invested in.

In my humble opinion the biggest challenge for customers is overcoming their perception that they paid “XXXXX” for their entire ERP system, and therefore their BI initiatives should be a fraction of this. It is not really comparing apples with apples, but it happens all the time. There is another way of looking at it…

Customers invest in BI because they want to get better information to be more profitable. Let’s use the example of a company that can get significant discounts for bulk buying. If the buyers in that organisation have access to accurate and timely information to help them make better buying decisions, this can result in savings that translate to tens of thousands of dollars every month… against an investment of a couple of thousand dollars per year!

When you start to look at the value an investment can provide, as opposed to the cost of it compared to other costs, not only is it an easy decision to part with your hard earned cash, but it also helps YOU as a customer to prioritize implementation of your chosen BI solution.