For small businesses especially, jargon can be a barrier to understanding. However, one area that it is vital for them to get familiar with is business analytics. One term that will ring true with most is big data – which refers directly to the opportunity for a business to learn from its own data in a way that increases productivity and / or sales.
It is commonly known that large businesses can exploit their own data collateral in this way. But many small businesses do not appreciate the benefit that this process could bring them.
Big data is actually a game changer, in that the barriers that previously prevented small business owners competing with larger players are effectively removed when SMEs decide to benefit from using their data in a certain way. This means that big data is set to change the business landscape – and in some cases, it already is.
The chances are that larger competitors are already doing this as a matter of course, so why shouldn’t small businesses take advantage of the same process? This will allow them to compete more readily and potentially get bigger.
For example, small retailer or grocery store could compare the link between conversations on social media and wider buying trends and amend their own offering to suit these – leading to more sales as a result.
Or an online retailer or stockist could look at the number of website visitors they have received and track how they navigate around the site. By examining this behaviour and understanding what engages them, the website can be tweaked to suit this, as well as opening up opportunities to cross sell.
Some people incorrectly think that big data analytics is costly and complicated – for many larger businesses that utilise business intelligence solutions to analyse their more complex data, this is certainly the case. However, it needs to be appreciated that for small businesses, analysing big data is simply about finding the right way to implement a service for the right reasons – which are more defined as they are based on certified data help in house.
Keeping ahead of the competition is difficult enough when it comes to staying ahead of fellow SMEs in the same market, but if there was a way, not only to cover this, but to compete with even bigger players, surely this is worth exploring? Plus the fact that for SMEs, the process of analysing data is far simpler than it would be otherwise, means there is no excuse for not capitalising on it now.
Here are a few choice tips to get SMEs started:
- Look at how your customers and potential customers share information via social media and forums – find out what their likes and dislikes are and amend your business model accordingly
- Look at internal buying trends over the past six months and see how that matches with these
- Consider reaching out to existing customers digitally to find out what makes them tick and how they want your business to change for the better – don’t be afraid of change, an agile business equals a successful one!
Most businesses fail to fully utilise the data that they store within their CRM systems. Big data analysis is changing the way businesses confront the market.
About the Author
Karen Harding is the marketing manager at Objective IT, one of the South East’s leading web and software development companies. If you wish to learn more about how apps can improve your business, call Objective IT today.