Opportunity For SaaS Based Business Intelligence In The SMB Space

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Kolkata: Indian SMBs (having <1000 emp) are facing a greater need to take faster strategic decisions based on real-time analysis from large volumes of volatile and diverse data. They’re increasingly turning towards Business Intelligence (BI) solutions, which will soon assume a pivotal role in pushing SMBs into a fast growth track.

BI promises to be rich in possibilities. Better performance management, profitability and overall spending management, along with efficiency and productivity management initiatives are driving BI usage. It’s primarily used as a part of a CRM solution for better customer relationship management, customer satisfaction, acquisition and retention.

The shifting trend towards a virtualized environment has led to strong adoption of cloud-based solutions and social media. The availability of multiple SaaS-based Business Intelligence (BI) solutions will provide considerable impetus to the adoption of BI tools among Indian SMBs. Although there are concerns about implementing a cloud based model (mainly security), vendors and the market as a whole have matured. The proliferation of smartphones and tablets in the SMB space and the need to make decisions anywhere, anytime accessing real-time analytics is pointing to strong planned adoption of mobile BI solutions. Leading BI vendors have already started development and commercialization of mobile versions of their tools. Although the vast majority of SMBs are yet to adopt mobile BI, the launch of more intuitive, simple and interactive BI tools and applications will go a long way to changing this scenario.

BI delivered on a cloud platform is expected to gain momentum from its infant state.  “Optimism and a newer outlook will push Indian SMBs to adopt SaaS based BI. A positive trend is expected in the immediate future. SMBs are anticipated to spend around $45 million on SaaS based BI in the year 2013” noted Somnath Das, Manager-Research at AMI-Partners. SaaS-based BI applications showed higher interest level mainly among India’s medium business segment (primarily for those having 500 -999 employees). Immense opportunity lies ahead for traditional vendors such as IBM, SAP, Oracle, SAS, CA etc who are already established players in the enterprise segment. At the same time, the market has witnessed the emergence of local players such as Maia Intelligence and a number of India internet service vendors are catering to SMB customers with attractive bundled BI offerings. Customer concerns for security, compliance and quality of service needs to be addressed by the vendors for faster penetration of BI within the SMB segment.

Business Intelligence tools are forecasted to remain one of the fastest growing software solutions for the near future. Presently, the prospect lies mainly within the traditional & large sector focused verticals such as banking, financial services, insurance and manufacturing. However, the usage of BI has expanded beyond these verticals, showing increasing adoption in the SMB segment e.g. retail sector. “Specialty retail, department stores and stores with more than five branches would derive immense benefits from a Retail Business Intelligence solution, which would enable them to control marketing and merchandising, product and service management, store operations, customer management and multi-channel execution” added Das.

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