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TDWI Report Offers Six Steps to Help SMBs Uncover Greater Insights from Their Data

New Checklist Report explores what small and midsize enterprises can do to realize the greatest business intelligence from their data.

SEATTLE, WA, August 11, 2014—TDWI Research has released its newest Checklist Report, Moving Beyond Spreadsheets: Six Steps for Enabling Small and Midsize Businesses to Gain Data Insights. The report discusses how organizations with fewer than 1,000 employees and less than $1 billion in revenue can improve their prowess in business intelligence and analytics.

“The most prevalent tools in use within SMBs for accessing, analyzing, reporting, and presenting data are spreadsheet applications and reporting tools embedded in point solutions,” writes David Stodder, author of the report. “However, with analytics becoming a competitive differentiator for SMBs, leadership in these organizations must determine whether users’ current tools and platforms for data access, analytics, presentation, and management are adequate for meeting data-driven decision-making needs.”

Stodder points out that although some SMBs came into being with BI and analytics as part of their DNA, many are only now realizing that they need to reach higher levels of maturing in how they access, analyze, and share data. They are planning to upgrade their capabilities. Stodder recommends that they tackle their goals gradually, keeping deployment of new technologies and methods aligned with business objectives.

The report details six areas where SMBs should focus their attention as they move beyond spreadsheets to improve their data insights.

Stodder explains why small and midsize firms can improve user productivity by overcoming the limitations of spreadsheets. Although Bi and analytics tools vendors have improved integration with spreadsheets by making data transfers easier, spreadsheets are becoming unwieldy, featuring hundreds of tabs and custom formulas. As spreadsheets are shared and tweaked, disputes may arise over which user has the correct data, resulting in poor productivity.

The report discusses how user confidence can increase with shared governance, reducing the numerous data silos that are difficult to integrate. To build confidence in their data, SMBs need to address both people and technology issues. Stodder cites two initiatives SMBs should focus on: creating a center of excellence (to improve collaboration) and defining data quality best practices.

The report also discusses:

  • How cloud computing (private, public, and hybrid) and software-as-a-service for BI, analytics, and data warehousing are giving SMBs more options for meeting their business needs and serving users who need to interact with data via mobile devices
  • The role of Hadoop and MapReduce in helping SMBs seek new insights into customer behavior, social media sentiment, and market trends
  • The potential benefits of implementing predictive analytics

Stodder also explains how small and midsize enterprises can use analytics to be more proactive and reduce time to insight.

This research was sponsored by SAS.

For a complete copy of the report or to ask questions of the author, members of the press should contact David Stodder at [email protected].

The report is freely downloadable by the public at; a short registration is required for those downloading a TDWI report for the first time.

About the Author
David Stodder is director of TDWI Research for business intelligence. He focuses on providing research-based insight and best practices for organizations implementing BI, analytics, performance management, data discovery, data visualization, and related technologies and methods. He is the author of TDWI Best Practices Reports on mobile BI and customer analytics in the age of social media, as well as TDWI Checklist Reports on data discovery and information management. He has chaired TDWI conferences on BI agility and big data analytics. Stodder has provided thought leadership on BI, information management, and IT management for over two decades. He has served as vice president and research director with Ventana Research, and he was the founding chief editor of Intelligent Enterprise, where he served as editorial director for nine years. You can reach him at [email protected].

About TDWI
TDWI, a division of 1105 Media, Inc., is the premier provider of in-depth, high-quality education and research in the business intelligence, data warehousing, and analytics industry. TDWI is dedicated to educating business and information technology professionals about the best practices, strategies, techniques, and tools required to successfully design, build, maintain, and enhance business intelligence and data warehousing solutions. TDWI also fosters the advancement of business intelligence and data warehousing research and contributes to knowledge transfer and the professional development of its members. TDWI offers a worldwide membership program, five major educational conferences, topical educational seminars, role-based training, on-site courses, certification, solution provider partnerships, an awards program for best practices, live Webinars, resourceful publications, and an in-depth research program. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @TDWI.

About 1105 Media
1105 Media, Inc., is a leading provider of integrated information and media in targeted business-to-business markets, including specialized sectors of the information technology community; industrial health, safety, and compliance; security; environmental protection; and home healthcare. 1105's offerings span print and online magazines, journals, and newsletters; seminars, conferences, and trade shows; training courseware; and Web-based services. 1105 Media is based in Chatsworth, CA, with offices throughout the United States.

Media Contact:
David Stodder, TDWI
[email protected]; 415.859.9933