When a business runs into trouble, sometimes all it takes to solve the problem is pulling one lever. The issue, of course, is finding exactly which lever to pull.
More and more companies are learning that data is the way to isolate the real source of any number of business problems. Can't figure out why your website's traffic fell off a cliff? A deep dive into Google Analytics will likely tell you what kind of customers you've lost and why. Over-budget and not sure where? There's a whole host of accounting tools that let you drill into your expenses and identify overspending trends. Read on to discover more problem-solving business tools.
Designed for companies of any size, including tiny start-ups, BIME is a dashboard that can read data from multiple sources: Excel spreadsheets, an SQL database, the accounting package you use for all income and expenses. Think of BIME as one dashboard to rule it all--at least, nearly all. What's cool about BIME is that the app itself runs on the Web. Once you connect the sources, you can start interpreting the data.
KISSmetrics might seem like yet another Web analytics dashboard. After all, it does track pageviews and how visitors arrived at your site. The big difference, though, is that the tool analyzes individual visitors before and after they become a customer. One example: KISSmetrics lets you see that, say, someone visited your site three times, once from a Twitter link and twice from a Google search. Then, it can show you that same person went to your company's "About Us" page and your coupon page. Once she becomes a customer, you can keep tracking her activities. The better your tracking abilities, the more you can finely tune your marketing and promotion strategies.
Sometimes, the best data analysis focuses on one very specific data set. This add-on for Salesforce.com analyzes your customer data to show you the top leads, such as which geographic locations are buying the most products. You can then re-focus your sales efforts based where you have the most opportunity.
Bearing perhaps one of the best product names ever, Fluxicon Disco (short for Discovery) is all about examining data points to make better decisions. The tool focuses specifically on process improvement. Are there bottlenecks in your customer management system, or a hold up in your inventory management? The tool helps you visualize the "in-between" gaps in the process of selling and management products.