Business intelligence or BI can help companies save lots of money in the long term but are costly up front. Therefore, many small to medium-sized business find it difficult to gain executive support. These 10 tips will help your small to medium-sized business save money and still get the business intelligence needed to compete.

1. Defer Unexpected and Overly Complex Problems to a Later Stage
While BI is designed to improve your overall business, keep to your plan. If data reveals unexpected problems, return to them when the ROI makes sense.

2. Quick Turnaround Cycles
Small to medium-size businesses require quicker results in BI initiatives. Use an analysis cycle that reacts quickly. Test and validate key data points quickly and focus on getting feedback often. Aim for measurable results every few weeks.

3. Utilize User Reporting
User driven reporting tools, which are now budget-accessible to small to medium-sized companies, enable users to generate their own reports and variations. Allowing individuals to customize their reports, these tools minimize the expensive involvement of the IT department.

4. Identify Experts in the Company
When jumping into a BI initiative, find the person in your organization who built reports before BI was in place. Their knowledge will save you hours of consultant time and expedite the analysis.

5. Reuse Existing Assets
Although a new BI initiative is beginning, existing reports should be built upon and used as a baseline for new reports. The common tendency to replace old reports is expensive and unnecessary.

6. Maximize Your ETL
The process of extracting, transforming, and loading data from your company’s source systems into the data warehouse is likely going to be the most expensive piece (in terms of labor) in your BI budget. Discuss all your options and do considerable research before choosing an ETL option.

7. Save on BI Products
A small to medium-sized business won’t need the best of the best. Likely your company will only use about 20 percent of the available tools 80 percent of the time in each BI product. Purchase the BI product that gives you those tools at the lowest cost.

8. Plan for Extra Time
When you are planning to implement a BI initiative, give yourself more time than you think you need. Often, problems are uncovered once work begins and it will be more cost effective to have the schedule already padded.

9. Seek Partners with Industry Experience
As you search for a company to help you with your BI implementation, find someone with experience in your industry because they will understand the industry’s typical data model.

EKI-Digital has worked with businesses of all sizes, and in various industries to help them benefit by designing, and deploying simple and effective Business Intelligence Frameworks, Dashboards and solutions leveraging Microsoft Power BI as a tool to improve how their businesses run, grow and transform. If you would like to learn more about this service please contact us at