Many small businesses are increasing their use of business intelligence software solutions. The impact of technology has organizations looking for different ways to embrace the latest solutions that can help optimize systems.
A recent article from the New York Times features comments from several small business owners that are using solutions like FileMaker to improve their overall operations. A study from IDC shows that in 2010, just 1.7 percent of small businesses were using these kinds of solutions. That number is now up to 9.2 percent.
One of them was Brian Janezic, who owns two self-service car washes. He realized that there had to be a way to improve inventory, and after some searching he decided on FileMaker Pro. The biggest draw to the system is FileMaker Go, which allows these systems to be accessed on an iPad. This means that him and his three remote employees can monitor inventory levels from anywhere. Also, the employees of six other car washes that are owned by Janezic's parents can also access the information.
Sensors were added that link to FileMaker to each location's eight drums of car wash chemicals, including waxes, tire wash and glass cleaners. Previously, the contents of these drums were measured with a yard stick on a weekly basis. Now, everything is monitored continuously at every location. This means better data collection and immediate alerts through text or email.
According to Ramon Ray, the co-creator and host of the annual Small Business Summit, more companies are starting to look into adopting business intelligence solutions because they are easier to use than ever before. Many of these systems, including FileMaker, do not require a degree or manual to learn the basics. Now you can drag and drop spreadsheets or upload a file from a mobile device.
"If you have fleets of vehicles, you run those vehicles better; you can staff better, because you know where your employees should be, and when," Ray said. "The new tools provide better customer insights, so you know better what to sell them or what not to sell them; you can see which of your products has the best profit margin. You don't have to do things on gut check anymore."
Just because business intelligence systems are easier to use does not mean that companies will be able to master them right out of the gate. A FileMaker developer can help any organization deploy these systems in an effective way.