December 22, 2021


In the last few decades, regardless of size, companies have produced a huge amount of data from both internal and external sources. The power of good governance, access and analysis is great, albeit seemingly unrelated; the amount of information that is important in business decision-making, otherwise potential business opportunities and important lessons may not be learned. Rapid changes in business climate and conditions have brought Business Intelligence (BI) to light even for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). To bring competitive profit, companies need to think of new ways to improve their businesses. One of the few strategies has been the adoption of Data Warehouse (DW) and Business Intelligence (BI). This has become an important part of modern business support systems. However, among SMEs, there is a general lack of technology required to convert data into data to simplify the process of making informed business decisions.

Business Intelligence itself is not a novel concept. This term was first introduced by Luhn (1958). Negash and Gray (2003) define BI systems as systems “that include data collection, data storage, and information management with complex analysis tools and competitive information for editors and decision makers.

According to a 2012 CIOs survey (Gartner, 2012), BI was ranked as the top technology in companies as BI enables them to create new skills. Chugh and Grandhi (2013) summarize the key benefits of using BI within a business, including:

  • Ability to analyze data from multiple sources and use various sizes.

Enabling managers to make wise business decisions by identifying important patterns in business transaction data.

Accuracy Improved accuracy in business trend predictions.

Increase performance by identifying the causes of problems.

Components of BI

To generate business intelligence, data from a business transaction needs to be processed by an ETL (Extract-Transform-Load) process that cleans, converts and rearranges data into a data value or data mart. Data repositories and data tags are basic data designed to facilitate data analysis and access to information. Data analysis is managed by the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) of the organization and varies by business. The data recognition tool is used to present data analysis results to BI users. Some of the major players in the BI field are well-known names such as Oracle, Microsoft, IBM, SAS and SAP. A few years ago, some small retailers such as Qlik and Tableau gained popularity.

Use of BI

  • Existing business categories that use BI to make specific business decisions include: banking, health service, IT companies, insurance companies, manufacturing industry, financial services and many more. .

BI Challenges

There are a variety of factors that affect planning to adopt BI solutions.BI solutions often cost, for example, a cloud-based BI solution typically costs at least USD $ 500 per month per user.

  • While BI gear on the shelf are conveniences, the grasp lap of such gear  for non-technical business users is often down.
  • Hosting BI solution requires support for hardware that is not minimal, and expensive.
  • Creating a BI is often a small task that requires a good knowledge and understanding of stored modeling and data retention. Such technical knowledge is often not readily available to most SMEs

BI Solutions

Given the cost and complexity involved in many BI solutions, a large number of SMEs simply adopt a BI solution that uses spreadsheets such as MS Excel integrated with the database. However, since standard spreadsheet software does not come with a rich set of data analysis and visual tools to facilitate access to information, the BI output level is basic.

Another modern BI solution comes in the form of Software as a Service (SaaS). SaaS is actually a software application implemented in the cloud. Instead of purchasing software from a reseller and installing it on a company server, companies pay a monthly or annual subscription to access the program via the Internet. With SaaS, company information is stored in the cloud and managed by a service provider. The common use of SaaS-supported BI is to provide intelligence to customer satisfaction in order to deliver improved Customer Relationship Management (CRM). BI as a service can be very useful for SMEs because they are expensive and easy to use. The main concern of using a cloud-based service is data security, privacy and data ownership.

While data ownership and privacy are not issues for a localized BI solution, there is a need to consider how data recognition reports can be shared with other stakeholders. BI uses web technology, e.g. Google Chart (Google, 2016), should enable web users to store reports on the web, distribute reports to interested users, define content and generate ad reports from web applications in the dynamics.


BI tools provide analytical data and key functional information that enables organizations of all sizes to be well managed. The use of BI tools in SMEs was generally lower than in large organizations. Research shows that SMEs appreciate the importance of rescuing their information resources to help them make important business decisions. They are also aware of the availability of many BI tools on the market. However, the technology needed to choose the right combination of tools is not readily available in most SMEs. In addition, the general lack of adequate IT budget prevents SMEs from investing time and money in adopting BI solutions.

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