Business Intelligence Tips

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How much will it cost me to invest in competitive business intelligence?

Cost? ROI More Important

The cost of business intelligence can be inexpensive, but it's rare. For example, if you want to do your own web research, or purchase an analyst's report for $129.95, the cost is relatively low. Purchasing business intelligence software can cost thousands, and then you have to hire and educate people who can analyze and understand the data being produced. The cost here isn't as important as the ROI. If it's going to make a critical difference for your business, the cost of a business intelligence solution should be a secondary consideration.

   
How do I find business intelligence in my field.

Find an Online Business Intelligence Specialist

You can try to do business intelligence yourself -- and sometimes you may have to -- but it's a lot easier and often less expensive in the long run to pay for access to an online business intelligence specialist. Dun & Bradstreet is the gold standard here, with millions of profiles of both public and private companies. You can buy service direct from D&B, or from one of many resellers on the web. Business intelligence information is usually sold either by the specific download or by providers who offer unlimtied access for a monthly or yearly fee. If you only have an occasional need for business intelligence, a per-download scenario will work for you. If business intelligence is part of your daily work, however, an unlimited plan might be the best answer.

   
Who are leading business intelligence software providers?

Business Intelligence Software Specialists

If you get serious about business intelligence and use it regularly to plot your company's direction, as well as to do competitive business research, you will eventually want to invest in business intelligence software for your own computer or network. There's no shortage of business intelligence software providers. Some of the leading business intelligence specialist are Cognos, Siebel and SAS. Top software vendors like Microsoft and Oracle are also moving into the business intelligence field.

   
Is there a simpler way to do get all this information?

Listen to the Analysts

Unless you know what to do with it, obtaining reams of data isn't going to help you with real competitive business research. But there are services that can give you business intelligence that's pre-packaged for your specific business or industry. These companies offer market research overviews written by analysts in specific industries or subject areas. For example, a business report from one of these providers could contain a company's credit capacity, commercial credit score and public filings. You can often purchase these reports over the Internet, as needed, or join a service that allows unlimited access to them. These reports are overviews and not as detailed as the custom information you would get from your own business intelligence tools. But they can be very helpful in terms of gathering business intelligence about an overall industry.

   
What is business intelligence?

Transform Data With Business Intelligence

This is the information age. If you're in business, you have a huge -- and growing -- amount of data available to help analyze and plan business strategy. You also have a nearly equal amount of data about your competitors on the Internet and publicly accessible databases. But if you want to actually use any of this data for your own business strategy, or to perform serious competitive business research, you need to be able to turn it into usable information. This is done with business intelligence techniques and business intelligence software and other business intelligence tools. Business intelligence software allows you to mine mountains of data for key information when planning your company strategy. Looking for competitive business research? There are business intelligence solution providers all over the web, who will let you use their online business intelligence tools for a fee, or even perform custom business intelligence gathering for competitive business research.

   
How can I get different sources of business information for one price?

Find a Business Information Source

Business information is a critical component of business intelligence, but accessing dozens of sources of business information can be very expensive. A good way to save money and get access to lots of information to help with competitive business research is to join a service that aggregates business information and then makes it available to members who pay a monthly fee. Leaders in this field include Manta.com, Business.com, Alacra.com and Onesource.com.

   
How do I find business intelligence in my field.

Find an Online Business Intelligence Specialist

You can try to do business intelligence yourself -- and sometimes you may have to -- but it's a lot easier and often less expensive in the long run to pay for access to an online business intelligence specialist. Dun & Bradstreet is the gold standard here, with millions of profiles of both public and private companies. You can buy service direct from D&B, or from one of many resellers on the web. Business intelligence information is usually sold either by the specific download or by providers who offer unlimtied access for a monthly or yearly fee. If you only have an occasional need for business intelligence, a per-download scenario will work for you. If business intelligence is part of your daily work, however, an unlimited plan might be the best answer.

   
How can I find the right business intelligence tools?

Web Versus Locally Hosted

Like most software these days, business intelligence tools comes in two basic models: web-based business intelligence tools and business intelligence software that you install on your own computer or in-house server. Both have advantages. The web-based model can be easier for beginners, since there's little set up or management. You can wade in and start working. Locally hosted business intelligence software can be better for experienced business analysts who want to set up software for custom analysis of unique business practices.

   
What does business intelligence software do?

Business Intelligence By The Numbers

The idea behind business intelligence software is to use it to gather and analyze large collections of unstructured data and turn it into useful business information. This can be used for a business analyzing itself or for performing competitive business research. There's no standard set of tools for business intelligence software, but most business intelligence tool sets will include some of the following: * Scorecarding: Measuring a company's success at implementing its vision and strategies. * Competitive analysis: Using metrics to measure your business against competitors according to key success factors. * Data mining: Identifying trends through analysis of large databases. * Decision support systems: Helping in the decision-making process by forecasting the results of the decision. * Knowledge management: Captures, stores and categorizes specific business knowledge within the company.
Use business intelligence software to analyze your own business or a business competitor. Business intelligence software tools or business intelligence reports from Manta allow users to access business resources including competitive analysis and market trends for your business or your competitor.

   
Who are some of the leading business intelligence providers?

Information Comes First

If you're looking for business intelligence for competitive business research, the first thing you need is access to business information. Some of the leading providers of business information include the following: Dun & Bradstreet, Datamonitor, Icon and Snapdata. The wire service Reuters and the Bloomberg news wire are highly focused on providing business news. There are also industry-specific business information providers like Forrester Research in the technology world and Hospitality Trends in the hospitality industry.

   
Do I need help trying to turn data into business intelligence?

Consider a Consultant

Working with business intelligence tools isn't for the faint of heart. It takes some time to learn how to use complicated business intelligence software and even more time to load your business data into it, and then attempt to use the software to analyze it. So if you think you need competitive business research, consider working with a business intelligence service that will help you understand how to use your business intelligence tools to your advantage. This is especially important if you decide to purchase locally hosted business intelligence software, which needs to be set up and managed to work with your specific data needs.

   
How can I use business intelligence tools for competitive business research?

Look to the Web for Competitive Intelligence

To use business intelligence tools and techniques for competitive business research, you likely want to join forces with a competitive intelligence solution provider that offers web-based business content and at least some basic business intelligence software. Look around and you'll find web providers who offer business content from a variety of providers and publicly accessible databases to anyone who pays a monthly fee. Many of these providers also offer some access to business intelligence tools. It's advisable to look around to find a provider who will also offer XML downloads of specific content for transfer into your own computer system for further analysis.
Manta's competitive business research solutions provide business research seekers with information on competitors, industry trends, market analysis, and web-based business intelligence tools.

   
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