Question for Monday’s Discussion: Is Business Intelligence Applicable for Small to Medium Size Business Owners

As I read “The Brain Behind the Big, Bad Burger and Other Tales of Business Intelligence” and “Business Intelligence: Not Just for Bosses Anymore,” I noticed that there was little discussion on how business intelligence can be beneficial to small or medium-sized privately owned businesses. In “The Brain Behind the Big, Bad Burger and Other Tales of Business Intelligence,” the benefits of business intelligence were demonstrated in the fast-food industry for large fast food restaurants such as Hardees, Wendy’s, and Ruby Tuesday’s where the use of business intelligence to promote ¬†operational excellency is the difference between success and bankruptcy. In “Business Intelligence: Not Just for Bosses Anymore,” the new application of business intelligence for companies such as Hillman Group, Avnet, and Quaker Chemical were explained along with their relative success. While the use of business intelligence was beneficial to an extent for these three companies, it is important to remember that Hillman, Avnet and Quaker Chemical are relatively large companies who are publicly traded, have over a thousand employees, or a global presence. Neither article discusses or analyzes the benefits of business intelligence for the business owners of small to medium-sized companies who may be reading that article and pondering the application of business intelligence in their business. Would a business intelligence application or program be beneficial for the owner of a women’s clothing boutique that operates two different stores? Would the owner of a locally well respected family restaurant and bar benefit from a business intelligence system and would it differ from the systems used by Wendy’s, Hardee’s, and Baja Fresh? Would a business owner be able to use Business Intelligence to transition their handful of fast food restaurants to a growing regional chain?

My observations boil down to the following questions that I would like to be addressed in our Management information system’s class on Monday:

Do you think that Business Intelligence is a realistic application for small to medium sized businesses? If so, what requirements would the systems need to have to be beneficial for the business owner and how would the business intelligence systems for a small or medium sized firm differ from that used by a larger company? 

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