This is a guest blog authored by David Banford. David is the CEO of BI APP, a business intelligence solution that visualizes your business data in real time, from any device.

What is business intelligence?

Business intelligence (BI) is an important tool with a slightly misleading reputation. In the past, the cost and complexity of BI have limited its use to medium and large businesses, so freelancers and small business owners haven‘t really developed a good understanding of what it is or how it can benefit them. 

BI includes so many options and solutions that it’s easy to get confused. Plenty of people talk about business intelligence without really knowing what it is. But the basic idea is very simple: BI takes the whole jungle of your business data and presents it to you in a very easy-to-understand way. Usually, this means targeted analyses of your financial, operational, and sales information, since those things are the heart of your company’s business success. A good BI solution shows you your business health in such a clear, targeted way that you can understand in under a minute what you need to do to take your business in the right direction. 

Benefits of BI

Let’s look in a little more detail at the benefits of using business intelligence. BI differs from other kinds of business feedback by showing a comprehensive, ongoing picture rather than a single snapshot like a yearly financial statement or sales report.

The goal of having more information is to help business owners make better decisions. That means seeing when something changes, whether it’s a decrease in new revenue or an emerging sales trend, and knowing how to follow up on it. BI allows business owners to fix problems with their sales pipeline before they start to impact business health. Entire teams can benefit from BI, too; a well-informed sales manager can use business health information to allocate team resources and motivate team members.

It’s not hard to imagine how complete and timely information leads to a more responsive business with a better closing rate. So for a business that implements BI software, the return on investment is potentially huge: a decent BI solution that inspires a couple of good business decisions will help you earn at least an extra sale or two, while a great BI solution that helps you take the right actions consistently will pay for itself hundreds of times over. 

Introducing BI APP for Zoho CRM

We mentioned that BI has been primarily used by medium and large businesses because of its cost and perceived complexity. That’s changing. Now everyone, including small businesses and freelancers, can easily access the power of business intelligence.

Introducing an entry-level BI solution that integrates with your Zoho CRM account to bring you your business health in detail and in real time. BI APP, which is offered through the Zoho Marketplace, brings the power of BI to small business owners in a simple, fast, and incredibly affordable way. It’s even available as a free trial, so you can see what BI can bring to your business before you commit. 

Features of an effective BI solution

 Let’s take a look at some of the essential BI features that BI APP offers:

  • Plug and play: It can be installed and connected to your CRM data in just two minutes.
  • Sales KPIs included: Key performance indicators are built in for easy viewing.
  • Web and mobile access: Use BI APP from your web browser or your Apple or Android mobile device.
  • Push notifications: Alerts keep you informed of changes in your business so you can respond appropriately.
  • Robust statistics: Quickly view figures including revenue generated, leads created and converted, sales won and lost, sales orders, sales by rep and territory, pipeline by stage, and more.

Business intelligence: a smart move

 It’s clear that business intelligence is no longer just for large companies; it’s an essential tool for small businesses that want to grow. A powerful BI solution is as important for your business health as your accounting software, and it does as much to grow your revenue as your CRM platform. The year you start using BI for your small business might just be the year your business stops being so small.

Try out business intelligence from within your Zoho CRM. Check it out now!