SMBs craving business intelligence tools

Business Intelligence

Oracle has claimed that small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are just as much in need of business intelligence (BI) tools as their larger counterparts.

BI has long been used by bigger firms to look at customer trends and make better use of information.

Oracle is now proposing, with its partners, to create BI packages for individual small and mid sized companies to cater for their specific data needs.

"We have found more and more small and mid sized business have been coming to us and asking about BI and this set alarm and opportunity bells ringing," David Tweddle, head of general business for Oracle, told IT PRO yesterday.

He added: "Customers are missing huge opportunities with their data dotted all over the place but BI can enable them to be more agile."

Oracle conducted an online survey earlier this year, which showed that 22 per cent of mangers questioned claimed their organisations still relied on a single data warehouse. More worryingly, three-quarters of respondents still relied on spreadsheets.

This lead to a lot of managers admitting they could not identify their most valuable customers (51 per cent), most profitable product (21 per cent) or best value supplier (45 per cent).

John Nicoll, from one of Oracle's first tier partners Maxima, added: "With the right BI tools in place, smaller firms can mine the wealth of data within their businesses just as effectively as their larger counterparts. However, only by implementing truly integrated solutions can firms derive the real benefits on offer."

One company that has taken up these tools through Oracle and Maxima is Scottish construction firm City Building Glasgow. It was previously the building services department at Glasgow City Council but became a private company in October 2006.

"Having a transparent view across the entire organisation of our costs and performance is critical to our business strategy," said Angela Murphy, head of IT for the firm.

"From an IT perspective it stops the use of internal resources providing adhoc information that may not be used again. From a management point of view it provides continuity from within the business having all the data where you need it and removing the dispute between people who have sourced data locally."

Tweddle said the packages are now available through either Oracle or one of its partners and are suitable for companies with as few as five employees up to thousands. Packages start at about 5,000 and differ dependent on a company's specific needs.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.