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Business Intelligence Software: Better Decision Making through Data

The saying goes, “Past performance is the best indicator of future performance”. Investors will tell you to look at a 5-10 year performance of a stock or a mutual fund to determine whether or not you should invest. The same goes with your business. It is important to know where you have been as a company (sales data, expenses, revenues) to help plan for future growth and expansion of the business. Business Intelligence software will certainly help analyze the necessary data in a streamlined fashion.

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The companies and representatives you sent our way were prompt and thorough… I definitely would recommend your company as a means to exploring options with qualified providers. — Bruce Conley
Your service saved me some very valuable time and hooked me up with some excellent resources. Thanks for providing this top-notch service. — Linda Vittori
Thanks! Having a service like this to help navigate the ocean of accounting software and help identify potential good-fits without having to delve through numerous bad-fits is of tremendous value! — Mark Carpenter

Business Intelligence Software: From the Enterprise to the Small Business

One of the biggest buzz terms in IT and business management is business intelligence (BI). More and more companies are searching for business intelligence software and it is important to know what BI software can do for you.

Business intelligence modules were initially designed for large companies. The focus was to take all the raw data locked up in financial and operations systems and turn it into useful business information. While this software has been readily available for many years for large companies, BI modules targeted toward small to mid-sized businesses are fairly new to the market.

Drawing the Distinction Between Reporting and Business Intelligence

Nearly every accounting software available has reporting tools. Some solutions offer budgeting solutions integrated into their accounting software. There are many stand-alone solutions. Often times the financial reporting and budgeting modules are not integrated and often times gathering reports from these modules requires time intensive data mining to obtain the necessary information.

Business intelligence software is designed to gather the data, sort the data, create visuals, help you analyze and report. For most systems, it is easy to extract data and dump into a spreadsheet. However, it is what you do with that data that is important. For the most part, business intelligence software is geared toward higher levels of management. The idea is to give key decision makers the ability to make decisions based on relevant business data, rather than just instinct.

What sets business intelligence software apart from standard reporting is the ability to report on financial and non-financial data alike. Not only do you want to see your profit margin on each widget you built, however, you also want to see the time it takes to produce each widget, parts and materials used to produce the widget, waste or scrap, how many were produced per hour by each employee, etc. This information will help management make decisions going forward such as: Do we hire more employees? Can we afford to take on a new customer that will double the output? Will a new machine speed up the processes and efficiencies of the manufacturing process?

Who Needs a BI Program?

Business intelligence software is used in virtually every industry. Consulting firms need to track project information. They need to see productivity by employee along with statistical data about each project. Retailers need to track profitability by sku, set goals of how many units to sell per hour to be profitable on a give day. Financial institutions set goals for their personal bankers as to how many accounts each banker opens during a month. Beyond just the number of accounts, what type of accounts and the amount of new money brought into the financial institution.

It all starts with creating Key Performance Indicators.

Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s)

Key performance indicators are commonly used by organizations to evaluate the success of a particular activity in which it is engaged. Traditionally, Key Performance Indicators describe non-financial data that is still quantifiable information that is critical to gauging overall business performance. KPI’s help assess the present state of the business and it’s key activities. These assessments often lead to the identification of potential improvements.

There are a few stages in identifying KPI’s including:

  • Having a pre-defined business process. Without a predefined business process, you don’t have measurable data.
  • Having the requirements for the business processes.
  • Having a quantitative/qualitative measurement of the results and comparison with set goals
  • Investigating variances and tweaking processes or resources to achieve goals.

Companies often find using the SMART method will help with the key performance indicators.

Specific purpose. Answers the who, what, where, why and which to make the goals specific. Measureable. Concrete criteria for measuring progress toward the attainment of the goal. Attainable. Is the goal attainable? Do you have the resources to reach the goal? Relevant. Are the goals relevant to your boss, team, and organization. Time. Set a time frame for reaching the goals.

Once the goals have been identified and you have solid key performance indicators, a business management system will help track those goals. Graphical reports and sorting/filtering capabilities keep managers updated as to the progress of those goals.

Often times, business intelligence software also is linked with a management dashboard. This dashboard allows key managers to review real-time data as related to the goals and indicators in question.

Financial indicators allow management to see where they stand for the day, month, quarter, and year. Through a business intelligence software, management will also have the ability to review the financial data for the year but also look at and compare current year to previous years. In addition to looking at past data, the business intelligence software also creates projections based on the past performance showing potential outcomes.

Quantitative indicators are a measurable characteristic, resulted by counting, adding, or averaging numbers. Operational systems that manage inventory, supply chain, purchasing, orders, accounting, financial systems, all gather quantitative data by means of KPIs.

Qualitative indicators are not as easily measured. Qualitative indicators are a descriptive characteristic, an opinion, a property or a trait. The most common ones gauge customer or employee satisfaction through surveys. While the survey data itself is quantitative, the measures are based on a subjective interpretation of a customer’s or employee’s opinions.

Business intelligence software boosts efficiency, reduces costs, provides data integration and integrity, provides easy access to decision making tools, allows for quicker recognition of critical information, gives managers the information needed to be more information, and provides the ability to predict events in the future based on historical analysis.

Popular Business Intelligence Software Products

Looking for great business intelligence software options? Below you can check out a list of the products most commonly considered by others searching for business intelligence software. The list on this page is based on many years of real software matches. But everyone’s needs are different. Browse for fits with your specific requirements or let us help you identify your top options.

Which software is right for you? Get quick and accurate recommendations.

What if you could simply tell someone about your software needs and they’d find your best choices? Look no further. We’ll listen to your needs and find your top software matches. That’s it. There’s no pressure, no cost.

The companies and representatives you sent our way were prompt and thorough… I definitely would recommend your company as a means to exploring options with qualified providers. — Bruce Conley
Your service saved me some very valuable time and hooked me up with some excellent resources. Thanks for providing this top-notch service. — Linda Vittori
Thanks! Having a service like this to help navigate the ocean of accounting software and help identify potential good-fits without having to delve through numerous bad-fits is of tremendous value! — Mark Carpenter
  • Adaptive Planning by Adaptive Insights

    Adaptive Planning provides comprehensive budgeting, planning, and forecasting that's proven to reduce cycle times by up to 90%. With an incredibly intuitive "Excel-like" interface, it's easy to collaboratively plan and forecast revenue, expenses,...

  • Sage Budgeting and Planning by Sage

    Take control of the budget process and bring strategic insight to business planning with Sage Budgeting and Planning, an enterprisewide, purpose-built budgeting and planning application. With Sage Budgeting and Planning, you can make quicker, more...

  • BI360 by Solver

    The BI360 solution provides a complete reporting, budgeting and dashboard suite for Microsoft Dynamics AX, GP, NAV, SL and CRM customers. It can also be used with other ERP systems, Sage X3, Sage 500, Sage 300, Intacct, Acumatica, Netsuite, SAP...

  • Microsoft Forecaster by Microsoft

    Forecaster for Microsoft Dynamics ERP helps you manage financial performance through accurate financial budgeting, planning and financial forecasting. Today's dynamic business environment requires flexible budget development with fast, easy...

  • Intacct by Intacct

    Intacct provides professional-strength, on-demand financial management and accounting applications for small and mid-sized businesses. Get the same power, functionality, reporting and security that traditional legacy on-premise systems provide, but...

  • SAP Crystal Reports by SAP

    A robust production reporting tool, SAP Crystal Reports turns almost any data source into interactive, actionable information that can be accessed offline or online, from applications, portals and mobile devices. ##Features & Benefits## SAP®...

  • SuiteAnalytics by NetSuite

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  • Sage Intelligence Reporting by Sage

    Sage ERP Intelligence Reporting sets itself apart as a powerful easy-to-use reporting tool. The Sage ERP Intelligence Reporting module empowers you to quickly and easily obtain the information required for improved operations and reporting...

  • PROPHIX by PROPHIX Software

    PROPHIX is a multi-user financial software application used by thousands of users worldwide for Budgeting, Planning, Financial Consolidation, Management Reporting and Analysis. PROPHIX offers the familiarity of a spreadsheet-style interface with...

  • Dynamics GP by Microsoft

    For more than 25 years, Microsoft Dynamics GP has delivered out-of-the-box business management functionality—from financials and human resource management to manufacturing and operations—to power diverse small and midsize companies around...

  • eProphet Business Intelligence by MaxQ Technologies

    eProphet Business Intelligence Series is an interactive, complete, cost effective Business Intelligence solution that provides you with one simple solution to take information from any source (across your organization) for multi-dimensional...

  • Adaptive Discovery by Adaptive Insights

    It's simple to visually uncover insights into financial, sales, and operational performance with Adaptive Discovery. Intuitive dashboards, interactive scorecards, and even what-if modeling make it easy for every business user to analyze results and...

  • SAP BusinessObjects Planning and Consolidation by SAP

    Streamline Planning, Budgeting, And Forecasting – And Close The Books Faster To consistently manage your company's performance, you need the ability to develop timely and accurate plans and budgets that are aligned with strategic goals....

  • Budget Maestro by Centage

    Budget Maestro is the ideal solution for the small to medium sized business ready to transition off spreadsheets to an automated budgeting, forecasting and reporting process. Budget Maestro utilizes a centralized database so any changes, additions...

  • Dynamics CRM by Microsoft

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM (formerly Microsoft Business Solutions–CRM) is a full-featured customer relationship management solution that streamlines and automates sales, marketing, and service operations. With Microsoft CRM, you can create a...

  • DataSelf BI by DataSelf

    As of January 2009, DataSelf BI, their flagship software package has out-of-the-box Business Intelligence solutions for the following ERP/CRM systems: * Microsoft Dynamics GP * Sage Accpac ERP * Sage BusinessVision * Sage CRM * Sage Mas 90...

  • QlikView by QlikTech

    The QlikView Business Discovery platform delivers true self-service BI that empowers business users by driving innovative decision-making. Understand Your Business in Brand New Ways by: * Consolidating relevant data from multiple...

  • Board by Board International

    Within one single product BOARD offers all the functionalities needed to build any Business Intelligence Software and Corporate Performance Management application solutions, without the use of any programming. Its revolutionary toolkit approach, as...

  • Sage CRM by Sage

    Over 12,000 small and medium-sized organizations in 70 countries use Sage CRM every day to manage critical sales, marketing and customer service activities, helping them to find new customers, close sales faster, and build lasting, profitable...

  • True Sky by True Sky

    True Sky is a Corporate Performance Management Solution (CPM) that dramatically reduces the time spent on creation, input, data merging, and review processes traditionally involved with planning, budgeting, and forecasting. Excel-based for ease...

  • DynacBudget by Dynac

    Imagine your Income Statement integrating with your Balance Sheet and generating up-to-date Cash Flow Statements as often as you need them. Now add rolling dynamic forecasts with “What if” scenarios that let you see the effects of business decisions...

  • Integrated Business Intelligence Solutions by BI-Metrix

    BI for Sage 300 ERP delivers the most in-depth analysis, reporting and planning for Sage 300. BI-Metrix combines the power of Excel and Sage 300 ERP cubes for simple, yet powerful analysis, reporting, dashboarding and planning. BI-Metrix empowers...

  • Zap Business Intelligence Software by Zap Technology

    Zap Business Intelligence is web-based BI software to meet your needs dashboards, key performance indicators (KPIs), scorecards, reports, ad-hoc analysis, and alerts and report scheduling. Use Zap Business Intelligence to gain insight across...

  • Budget Pro by Retail Budget Pro

    This easy to learn and use cloud based software will revolutionize your multi-store budgeting problems. If you have several stores or more and need to create a Profit and Loss statement for each one then stop using Excel. This program will do a...

  • PlanGuru by PlanGuru LLC

    PlanGuru is budgeting, forecasting and planning software designed to help small and medium sized businesses prepare their budgets and forecasts in a fraction of the time they would spend in their spreadsheet software. PlanGuru combines a flexible...

  • CONTROL by KCI Computing

    CONTROL® integrates all financial management functions, processes, and data. It provides one shared repository of business rules and data and one point of maintenance eliminating disconnects or different versions of the truth. It gives you the...

  • PowerPlan by PowerPlan

    Are you frustrated with your existing budgeting methods and processes? Does the need for redundant data entry concern you? Are you lacking a centralized and trusted data source? Would a vehicle for business collaboration and communication allow...

  • NetSuite by NetSuite

    NetSuite enables companies to manage all key business operations in a single, integrated system, which includes customer relationship management; order management and fulfillment; inventory management; finance; ecommerce and Web site management; and...

  • SAP Lumira by SAP

    Quickly build beautiful visualizations with just a few clicks. Combine data sources and get the big picture and granular details together. Visualize large volumes of data without having to sacrifice performance. Maximize data knowledge and drive...

  • CALUMO by CALUMO

    The name CALUMO is derived from Keleuma (kel-yoo-mah), a Greek word meaning the song, chant or command given by the chief oarsmen that gives power and rhythm to the rowers. In the same vein, CALUMO empowers people, facilitating unification and...

  • Spotfire by SYNTELLI SOLUTIONS

    Spotfire is the best and easiest tool for creating intuitive CEO dashboards, Business Intelligence, interactive reporting, data analysis and sending KPI Alerts to mobile devices. Syntelli Solutions builds comprehensive dashboards with...

  • Halo BI by Halo Business Intelligence

    A Higher Intelligence Enterprise intelligence and big data analytics built to leverage your most important investment — your people We built the Halo Platform based on a few simple principles: People are smart, data is...

  • SAP Business One by SAP

    SAP Business One provides a single, affordable solution for managing your entire business, including financials, sales, customer relationships and operations. Streamline your end-to-end operations, gain instant access to complete information and...

  • Ramco DecisionWorks by Ramco Systems

    Leverage Profound Insights to Build an Intelligent Enterprise. In this era of information influx, managers are inundated with volumes of data, and find it difficult to get the relevant information for decision-making. More time is spent in...

  • Targit Business Intelligence Suite by Targit US

    Business intelligence from TARGIT is developed with the concepts of user-friendliness, flexibility and simple implementation in mind and it is top priority to TARGIT to minimize the number of clicks to business insight. TARGIT BI Suite streamlines...

  • TM1 by Applix

    One of the key strengths of TM1 as budgeting and planning software lies in its ability to recalculate entire business models on the fly, supporting highly interactive planning and what-if analysis. TM1's rapid query response also enables...

  • SAS Financial Intelligence by SAS Institute

    SAS Financial Intelligence solutions provide consolidation, reporting, budgeting, planning and dashboards in a single solution and on one platform. With SAS, you can achieve financial transparency, ensure regulatory compliance, and gain predictive,...

  • Up Your Cash Flow XT by Granville Publications Software

    Up Your Cash Flow XT creates financial forecasts for small to mid-size businesses quickly and easily with more features than ever before. Accountants and consultants use this powerful software to provide management advice, secure financing, assist...

  • Infor CloudSuite Business by Infor

    *Power your company with a cloud-based operations platform built for speed, agility, and growth.* Strategic decision-making is essential for any small or medium size organization, no matter if it’s B2B or B2C. Next-generation companies thrive...

  • AccuFund Accounting Suite by AccuFund

    Accounting software for non-profits, municipalities and other government agencies is the specialty of AccuFund. The AccuFund Accounting Suite is powerful, flexible and affordable financial reporting and accounting software designed specifically for...

  • Dynamics NAV by Microsoft

    Microsoft Dynamics NAV delivers industry-specific functionality along with multi-language and multi-site capabilities. Its integrated development environment enables customizations with minimal disruption to business processes. Designed to work like...

  • Business ByDesign by SAP

    The SAP Business ByDesign cloud-based solution (formerly referred to as code name A1S) is a new addition to the SAP offerings for small businesses and midsize companies. It is targeted to the unmet needs of these enterprises, which have...

  • Multiview Financial Suite by Multiview

    For organizations seeking a solution that easily conforms to their existing operations, Multiview Enterprise .NET n10 offers a flexible, integrated suite of financial solutions. With Multiview Enterprise .NET n10, companies gain superior visibility...

  • TRAVERSE by Open Systems

    TRAVERSE is an ERP system from Open Systems, Inc. offering financial, operations, and sales functionality. Traverse provides comprehensive integration for key business processes, while offering the ability to scale from 5 to 500 users....

  • Acumatica ERP by Acumatica

    Acumatica Cloud ERP provides all of the features of traditional accounting, financial, and ERP software, but is web-based so it is less expensive to maintain, centrally managed, and accessible from anywhere. Customers can purchase a license and...

  • Sage ERP X3 by Sage

    Sage ERP X3 is the most powerful and flexible business management solution offered by Sage. It empowers mid-sized and larger companies within the manufacturing and distribution industries with the ability to grow a competitive business with limited...

  • SugarCRM by SugarCRM

    SugarCRM makes CRM simple. As the world's fastest growing customer relationship management (CRM) company, SugarCRM applications have been downloaded more than seven million times and currently serve over 850,000 end users in 80 countries. Over 7,000...

  • InfoFlo by Carmel Vision

    Customers are drawn to InfoFlo because they are tired of spending effort trying to “figure out” the complexities of traditional CRM products. Traditionally customers are stuck deciding between an overpriced, feature rich CRM or a cost conscious CRM...

  • Adagio Accounting Suite by Softrak Systems

    Adagio Accounting is a multi-ledger, modular accounting system that provides best-in-class audit controls and financial reporting capabilities. It is designed for small and mid-sized businesses that process significant volumes of transactions –...

  • Dynamics AX by Microsoft

    Designed for mid-size and larger companies, Microsoft® Dynamics AX (formerly Microsoft Axapta) is a multi-language, multi-currency enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. Its core strengths are in manufacturing and e-business, and it...

Your Business Intelligence Software Recommendations

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