Different company sizes, similar BI requirements


The use of business intelligence solutions is also becoming increasingly important for medium-sized companies, and their needs still differ significantly from those of larger companies. This was determined by Actinium Consulting in a comparative study. According to this study, medium-sized companies with annual sales of less than 25 million euros place particular emphasis on fast implementations and the most extensive possible pre-settings, while larger companies place greater emphasis on the need for high performance and easy scalability. By contrast, the question of how important technical solutions are for supporting entrepreneurial decision-making processes in SMEs tends to be answered identically.

“The decision-making conditions are becoming more and more similar in the various company sizes, even if specific requirements exist in some cases,” judges Actinium CEO Klaus Hüttl. “Even the complexity of the decision parameters is sometimes not very different. This makes on the part of the Business Intelligence solutions with few exceptions quite similar functionalities in both examined enterprise sizes necessary. The most obvious differences are in reporting needs and forecasting, as well as the use of dashboards and the Balanced Sorecard. All other typical BI functions meet with relatively similar approval in both comparison groups.

However, the consultant points out that, in his experience, midmarket companies react sensitively and rather dismissively to elaborate solutions. “As also confirmed in the results of the comparative survey, their core requirements include short project times and very manageable ratios in operation and use.” This means that they want rapid implementation with little customizing and little training, while the majority of larger companies, for example, are precisely against overly extensive default settings in BI systems.

Nor do they advocate remaining as independent as possible from specific technical expertise as part of their business intelligence strategies, as is the case in the majority of smaller companies. Instead, the larger users place a higher value on solutions that can grow with them according to individual needs and offer high performance at the system level. “Despite all the differences in detail, it can nevertheless be concluded that BI has also found its position in the lower midmarket,” judges Hüttl. “This is creating a greater BI culture across the board, which can only help the further anchoring of business intelligence solutions in the practice of companies.”