BI is short for “business intelligence”, but what do those words mean as they relate to your government contracting business? You hear and read much these days about the need for analytics, data mining, and dashboards in order to gain and maintain your competitive edge. Hard-to-use and expensive options abound, but two of the most straightforward and powerful options feature a low cost of ownership, and are easy to acquire.
If you use FedBizOpps to identify opportunities that fit your expertise and a separate CRM system to manage those opportunities, there is an inexpensive, user-friendly and highly flexible subscription based solution for government contractors called EZGovOpps that combines contracting opportunities with a built-in CRM component to enable you and your team to identify and collaborate on capture efforts.
If you use Excel 2010, and are adept at using pivot tables, there is a free add-on from Microsoft called Power Pivot that can be downloaded and added to your Excel workbook. Power Pivot enables you to connect to any SQL database or other relational database to enable “Self-Service BI” within the familiar setting of your Excel spreadsheet. You can easily connect to SYMPAQ SQL’s database via its native ODBC driver to access tens of thousands of rows of data within your spreadsheet, and use Power Pivot to gain insights into your cost accounting data.