It took High Liner Foods Inc. in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, 10 years to find a viable and affordable business intelligence solution, said chief financial officer Kelly Nelson."What we had was JD Edwards' [enterprise resource planning system] and another sales reporting system. It was OK for people to use, but not so user-friendly," said Nelson. "All the BI applications were very expensive and took too long to install, so you lost cost from the expense of the system and the effort of installing it."

Today, High Liner uses a BI system, Q4Bis, for "everything" - from financial statements, budgeting and forecasting, to inventory management and sales management. But while High Liner is a midsized concern with about $300 million in annual revenue, most other small and midsized businesses still have yet to jump on the BI bandwagon, according to providers.

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