New BI tool aims to help SMBs navigate a data-deluged world

PCWorld News

There’s been no end in sight to the parade of BI tools appearing on the horizon, and on Friday a new one made its debut, this time with a focus on SMBs.

Combining tailored analytics and cloud technology, Quatrro’s new BI Tool is designed to bring business intelligence and financial analytics to small and medium-sized businesses, including franchisors.

Financial dashboards, alerts and reporting templates are among the features included in the new offering, which aims in particular to help companies cope with the ever-growing piles of unstructured data at their disposal.

SMBs can tap its financial planning and analysis capabilities for benchmarking and comparing unit performance, for example, with an eye toward identifying trends and red flags.

Planning, budgeting and forecasting tools, meanwhile, enable businesses to track the current state of operations and potentially drive growth through predictive analysis and forecasting.

Inventory and expense management features offer enhanced visibility into cost reduction opportunities, while financial governance, risk management and compliance provide greater transparency by integrating data and aligning governance models, Quatrro said.

Tools for managing revenue and profitability as well as cash flow and balance sheets are also included in the new product.

Pricing details were not immediately available.

The business intelligence market is highly competitive and includes many players, “all of which have to contend with Microsoft,” said Dan Vesset, a program vice president with IDC.

Microsoft on Friday had BI news of its own with the announcement of a July 24 release date for its Power BI offering.

“The key difference between SMB offerings and enterprise offerings sometimes is that the former provide in a single package a broader suite of functionality, whereas the latter break them into individually packaged and sold modules,” Vesset noted.

Numerous cloud-only BI vendors have come out with attractive pricing for SMBs, he added.

In general, BI software is most popular among mid-sized firms, said Christopher Chute, a research vice president with IDC.

To wit: A full 13 percent of midmarket firms—or those with between 100 and 1000 employees—say they have some type of cloud BI solution, compared with just 3 percent of small businesses with fewer than 100, Chute said.

“BI is unlike Office 365 or even cloud-based ERP in that it is what we would loosely term a highly advanced IT solution for the smaller customer—perhaps the most advanced,” he added.

Quatrro’s new offering, meanwhile, “appears to be a comprehensive BI suite of tools for the small to mid-size firm,” said Rob Enderle, principal analyst with Enderle Group. “If this works as advertised, it would be a godsend for that segment.”

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