Vendors move towards BI for SMBs
With vendors constantly working towards increasing the value of their offerings and expanding their reach, the move towards solutions targeted to SMBs has been a natural one. Aside from smaller vendors, larger BI players have also developed SMB targeted solutions that generally provide a subset of their overall functionality. These solutions generally differ on the amount of data storage, overall price, and access to modules. In addition, because of the assumption that SMBs have less IT infrastructure and resources than their enterprise counterparts, many solutions are built on the premise of being business focused to enable broader adoption within the company and require less IT support and maintenance.
Additionally, Software as a Service (SaaS), open source, and data visualization solutions are types of offerings that are well poised for SMBs but not necessarily specifically targeted towards this audience. Solutions hosted external to the organization enables portal access to BI and analytics. Outside of a few full BI suites, most SaaS solutions are niche and offer plug-ins for sales or marketing analytics enabling non-technical staff to take advantage of business intelligence features. The availability of commercial open source allows business units to take advantage of the interactivity and continual development environment of open source BI without the internal IT development requirements. Add to this subscription licensing models and initial software and services costs are lower than many traditional BI offerings. Data visualization or dashboard solutions also add value to SMBs as they provide broad usage and advanced analytics in a visually pleasing format.
Today's vendor focus and BI trends
All of these areas contribute to the increase in breadth of BI offerings and vendor focus. Whether a specific focus on SMBs or the enterprise, industry trends are enhancing BI for both groups. The reality is that even though broader numbers may exist within the SMB market, enterprises still provide the most opportunity for expansion and larger BI projects. What this means is that either way, broad BI opportunities exist for solution providers targeting either group. For instance, operational BI and self-service models increase the validity of business intelligence within organizations. Operational BI merges the fundamentals of BI with daily tasks to increase business visibility and enhance decision making, and self-service BI enables broad and business focus use of business intelligence solutions.
Enterprise BI expansion and business empowerment for SMBs are key aspects related to the success of these emerging trends within both types of companies. In essence, despite size and resources, in many cases, similarities exist within all organizations in relation to their BI needs. The more vendors work towards providing easy to use broad analytics, the more both enterprise organizations and SMBs will benefit. To succeed with both types of companies, solution providers need to continue to increase the ease of use, quick time to implement, and diversity of software costs and licensing of their products and solutions.