As I write this I am really wondering whether business intelligence and dashboards really go along with small business reporting. Now, I am not particularly analytical – nor am I a fan of statistics in general. However, when it comes to looking at business data I find myself constantly looking to create relationships to and amidst the data I’m looking at. For example, I might look at a report of production from a particular type of machine which shows high dollars shipped. Then I might wonder — well — great that we shipped so much – but how much profit was produced? How does that compare to last month? Last Year? etc. One question leads to another.
This scenario is perfect for the creation of a “dashboard” presentation. However, very much like the “business intelligence” applications that are available, creating the dashboard can be cost prohibitive. What a shame!
In my opinion the well run small business, be they multi-location or single-location, has perhaps more to gain from such information availability and presentation than does the larger company. There is more at stake for the smaller company.
I find myself constantly on the lookout for reasonably priced software (under $1000 – preferably in the $500-600 range) which can be used to create such a reporting application. For the small businesses that I deal with, spending $25,000 or so for a BI/Dashboard application just doesn’t make it. What I have found so far as a tool to use to create the application I’d like to provide is very expensive, cumbersome to use, and requires extensive programming beyond my particular skill set.
Where’s my reasonably priced tool out there? I’ll be searching, but if you have pointers please respond to this blog and help all of us out.