For those who do not follow Andrew Fryer's blog, it is worth checking out his posts on Business Intelligence for Small Business. In a series of four posts Andrew addresses:

In this article Andrew talks about how we usually equate Business Intelligence (BI) with large organisations but that the reality is many small and medium sized business are implementing BI and seeing the benefits of doing this. He talks about why this is so and the perceived barriers...

To conclude BI is like any business investment, and while the benefits may be hard to quantify there is no doubt that the reduced costs of ownership, make it more and more attractive to small businesses.

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Andrew's second post talks about the evidence that BI is increasingly being used in small business. He goes on to talk about how the cost of BI tool investment might be "further reduced by doing all the hard work in the internet cloud.  In future any business will choose to have their line of business data hosted in the cloud, and to have a service to analyse that data." Andrew says...

Many vendors are developing services like this. Microsoft’s approach to this area (what the IT industry calls Software plus Services) is a little bit different in that you can mix and match what is kept on premise (say your data) and what you want to do in the cloud. A good example is the black art of data mining, a set of techniques to discover relationships and customer behaviour for example that were not apparent.  Microsoft is designing it’s cloud offering to let you do your data mining from data in the cloud or that you have locally , and then to either analyse that from a browser, or from Excel.

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Andrew's third post addresses how small businesses go about getting started with BI. This typically involves deciding what success looks like and setting metrics around this.

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In Andrew's fourth post he talks about the stage when you know what you want to measure and have built a scorecard, so what next. Here comes the analysis phase - e.g. what to do when you know you are not hitting your numbers.

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