HelpSystems Blog

How to Do Business Intelligence—Without the Big Budget (Webinar Recap)

Companies aren’t in business to lose money.

That means they need to be aware of how much they’re spending and what they’re getting out of it. Doing more with less is today’s standard operating procedure.  

This is true when it comes to business intelligence, too. The problem is that many business intelligence solutions are expensive and include many features that organizations don’t even use. It’s easy for the costs to outweigh the benefits.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Business intelligence doesn’t need to bust your budget.

That’s why we recently tackled How to Do Business Intelligence—Without the Big Budget in a 40-minute webinar.

Check out the 40-minute webinar—or read the 5-minute recap—below.



What You Actually Need in a BI Tool

When it comes to BI tools, there are endless features and capabilities. Some of these you need. Some of these you don’t need.

Just like with buying a house or a car, you need to separate the needs from the wants. There are must-haves, nice-to-haves, and extras.

Here’s how to focus on what your organization actually needs.

Gather Needs Across the Organization

Whether your organization is large or small, you have different departments asking for data.

Your management team wants a dashboard detailing key performance indicators for the business.

Your sales team wants a dashboard detailing their monthly statistics—and it should include real-time data.

Your finance team wants a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet packed with meaningful financial metrics, so they can monitor the business.

And you might even have a warehouse management team who wants a dashboard to keep an eye on current inventory.

While you don’t need to involve all of these people in the decision-making process, you do need to take their needs into account. Ask questions to get the ball rolling—like do you need to get data in Excel? And listen to how they answer. You’ll be able to use it to create your list of must-haves, nice-to-haves, and extras.

By taking the time to gather needs across your organization, you can make sure you’re selecting the right BI tool.

Get a checklist for identifying your BI needs >

Evaluate What You’re Doing Today

Once you know what users need or want, consider what you already do for business intelligence. Can it meet the needs of your organization today? If you’re still using a tool like Query/400, it probably can’t.

Use your current BI tool to benchmark potential tools. For instance, upgrading from Query/400 to Sequel Data Access can offer fast ROI.

One of our customers had a query that took 16 hours to run in Query/400. But when they switched to Sequel, that same query took just three minutes.

Where BI Projects Fail

There are always things you can’t control—especially when it comes to a new software project. And that makes it easy for projects to fail.

Make your BI project a success. Take into a count three of the biggest causes for BI project failure.

1. Time to Implement

BI projects can fail when they take too long to implement.

Users expect instant answers and instant access. But big BI projects come with a long implementation period.

You can avoid this by choosing a simpler BI tool.

Sequel Data Access, for instance, overcomes the time-to-implement hurdle by:

  • Installing quickly
  • Importing and converting your existing queries
  • Making it easy for users to help themselves to data

2. Users Depend on IT

Users think IT knows what they need—without actually speaking up. They might not say anything about what they need from BI until it’s too late.

You can avoid this roadblock by involving your users early on in the BI tool selection process. Find out what they need, and make sure the BI tool can do it.

3. IT is Afraid of Losing Control

IT might be afraid of losing control over data. What if someone makes a mistake and data is damaged or lost?

The best way to overcome this hurdle is choosing a tool that gives IT peace-of-mind while giving users self-service data access.

How Long It Takes to Reach Your ROI

How long it takes to hit ROI depends on the cost of your BI project—and how quickly you’re able to find savings from the investment.

ROI can be calculated by simply subtracting cost of investment from the gain from investment—and divide it by cost of investment.

Your gains from the investment will include more than just hard costs. Be sure to factor in the time your employees spend running queries and delivering data to your users today.

Or, use this free ROI calculator to find your savings >

ROI on IBM i

Software on IBM i often offers greater ROI potential than other platforms. That’s because the total cost of ownership for IBM i is drastically lower than platforms like Windows and Linux. So, your opportunity for ROI is better.

ROI with Sequel

There are three common ways that organizations find ROI with Sequel.

  1. Reduce the time users spend waiting for data.
  2. Make better use of your developer’s skillsets.
  3. Help your business make better decisions.

For instance…

One of our customers had a process that took 4 hours each day to run 12 queries. But, they had to wait for each one to finish before they could run the next one. Their tool couldn’t handle multiple queries at once. Once the queries were completed, the data had to be manually extracted and pasted into Excel. It was causing a process problem.

Then they switched to Sequel. With one Sequel script, they were able to replicate the entire process. That one script runs three queries in just seven minutes. Those queries deliver the same information that twelve used to deliver. And Sequel automatically emails the results in Excel. With that, they were able to hit ROI fast.

Do Business Intelligence Within Your Budget

You don’t need a big budget to get business intelligence. All you need to do is find what you need (not the extras). Beware of the pitfalls of BI projects so you can make yours successful. And choose the right tool so you can hit ROI fast.

See how Sequel delivers the BI you need and helps you hit ROI fast. Jump to 18:35 of the recorded webinar to see a demonstration. 

How much could you be saving with the right BI solution? Find out. Use our free ROI calculator to determine your BI savings.


Try Sequel today.