Much is made of the notion that business intelligence solutions are now within reach of more companies than ever before. But how does the small to medium business owner gauge the relevance of these information management tools for their organisation without racking up potentially costly bills?

This is a question which Synergy Business Intelligence (BI) sets out to solve with the release of its free e-booklet 'Making Business Intelligence work for you'. Available from the company's website at
"The title of the book is not an empty promise," says Synergy BI MD Christo Bredenkamp. "Our e-book reflects on the lessons we have learnt and are still learning and provides a perspective on the key factors that can make BI a reality, and add value to your business.
"We have worked with enough organisations over the past 30 years to be convinced that those who realise the strategic value of their data and who know how to gain insight from their data, are those who are able to make decisions that drive business advantage," he says.
He points out that BI involves technology, systems and processes designed to deliver information to those in the organisation who need it – but adds that while technology is the enabler, it is really the people who will determine the success of any BI efforts.
BI, continues Bredenkamp, is on the minds of the leaders of most major companies. "Historically, the focus of these leading organisations was on the operations necessary to manage day-to-day business," he says.
This, however, has left these organisations data-rich but information-poor. "BI attempts to address this issue by offering decision makers actionable information and analytical tools to improve company performance and give their organisations the edge."
Among the reasons why some organisations are able to ease their way through business challenges such as expanding markets, increased competition and rising costs while others struggle, is that the former are able to get on the inside track, to have the facts needed at a click of a button and to make decisions while the competition is still gathering the facts.  This is the promise of BI.
However, notes Bredenkamp, the publication is by no means a comprehensive guide to successful BI implementations. "Rather, it is our intention to introduce the concepts and benefits of BI, as well as to highlight some potential pitfalls of a BI implementation to the company owner who is looking to improve decision-making with the support of tools that cut through the clutter. With this knowledge, we believe business owners can equip themselves to establish whether or not BI can add value in their environment," Bredenkamp concludes.