What Are Business Analytics and Intelligence Tools?

What Are Business Analytics and Intelligence Tools?
As a business owner, you have critical decisions to make. Learn how business intelligence tools can help you make the right choices.
by Colleen Egan Jun 17, 2019 — 4 min read
What Are Business Analytics and Intelligence Tools?

As a business owner, you have to make critical decisions every day. And it’s easier to make the right choice when you have the best information, right at your fingertips.

That’s where business intelligence tools come into play. They enable you to both predict the outcomes and consider the risks of various options so you can make a more informed choice.

Let’s take a deeper look at the most popular types of business analytics tools.

What is business analytics?

Business analytics is the practice of collecting data from multiple sources and then turning that data into insights that help you improve the way you manage your business. Analytics software helps you better understand what’s working and what isn’t, so you can create strategies that help your business grow.

What does that look like in practice? Let’s say you’re tracking your daily sales through a business analytics tool and you see that you’re busiest on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays in the mid-morning and early evening (see below). That could inform how you staff your shop, set your hours, and even stock inventory.

Sample analytics report

Specifically, these tools can help with some of the following business tasks:

So the more data you have — and the better your business intelligence tools allow you to parse through and understand it — the easier it is for you to make those important business decisions.

(If you’re doing research on different types of business analytics tools, you might also come across the term “business intelligence.” What’s the difference between business analytics and business intelligence? Business intelligence, or BI, is the category that analytics sits under.)

Data analytics is just one part of business intelligence, which incorporates predictive analytics and statistics to sift through data. Business intelligence software then makes connections from that data so business owners have an actionable plan to improve their operations.

Learn more about the built-in analytics of Square Point of Sale »

4 types of analytics tools for small business

Business analytics tools can be a game changer for your business, especially if you’re just starting out. They can shed light on everything from how, what, and when you’re selling to who is engaging with your brand and everything in between.

Here are a few types of intelligence tools with analytics capabilities that you should have in your business owner toolbox:

How to select business analytics tools: 6 questions to ask

When you’re deciding which business intelligence tools are right for you, you want to use the same set of criteria when evaluating all the possibilities. That doesn’t mean you use the same criteria to evaluate social media tools as you do for web analytics. But you should use the same questions for all the vendors you’re evaluating in a single category.

Begin by making a list of all the contenders for each type of business analytics tool, then ask a few questions:

Once you’ve determined that an analytics tool fits your needs, then cost and ease of use are the most important factors to consider.

There are plenty of low-cost options for analytics (Square POS is free and includes analytics). But not all business analytics tools are easy to use, so make sure you demo the product before you buy.

Accessing business analytics with Square

Business intelligence software is essential for small business owners because it can help you make more data-driven business decisions. Square Point of Sale has integrated analytics and advanced reporting options so you can discover important insights to improve your business.

Whether you need updated information on sales trends or inventory, if you’re using Square POS, you can pull that directly from your online Square Dashboard. Get started with Square POS.

Colleen Egan
Colleen Egan writes for Square, where she covers everything from how aspiring entrepreneurs can turn their passion into a career to the best marketing strategies for small businesses who are ready to take their enterprise to the next level.


Keep Reading

Tell us a little more about yourself to gain access to the resource.

i Enter your first name.
i Enter your last name.
i Enter a valid email.
i Enter a valid phone number.
i Enter your company name.
i Select estimated annual revenue.
i This field is required.

Thank you!
Check your email for your resource.

Results for

Based on your region, we recommend viewing our website in:

Continue to ->