Top ten IT strategies for SMEs, number six: BI

Business intelligence enables companies to analyse data, such as sales revenue, by breaking it down by products or departments and provides historical, current, and predictive views of business operations.

James Walker, marketing director of underwear company Kiniki, used business intelligence to analyse customer data and cut advertising costs.

“We’ve been going for about 35 years and have a database of around 600,000 customers. In the past there was no way to find out what the buying patterns were. But now we can drill right down in to the data and even find out who buys blue underwear on Thursday, for example,” he said.

Previously the company sent out fliers to its entire mailing list, which made the print runs very expensive. Now it uses the analytics to identify who is buying what and target specific audiences with campaigns. So far the company has saved £35,000 using the Safewire Arx BI system.

Walker said he deliberately took time to learn what they wanted from it when it was originally deployed, otherwise the company would have been drowning in information. “We realised we only needed it to profile customers, so we spent six months getting used to it. So far it’s been a great tool,” he said.

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