14 November 2018

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Big Data for SMEs

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Information always pays rich dividends -is an oft repeated phrase across boards whether small or big. Data, in this case, is an asset that courts a premium in today’s highly connected world and it continues to grow in volume like never before. No wonder then, you find business enterprises, small and big business in varied industries looking for ways to gather this data and make timely decisions based on insights afforded to them.

Big Data technologies are changing how industries operate today. Adoption of Big Data becomes imperative, especially if SME’s hope to address the challenges of extensive data. A recent Research and Markets study published this year predicts that SME’s adoption of big data will grow at a CAGR of 43 percent before 2018.

Big data means a huge volume of data that is an integral part of the business. The quantity of data does not matter, but what is important is the data interpretation and how companies use the analysis of data. Big Data allows insights into the business that allows enterprises to take strategic decisions and plan business moves much in advance.

However, if you believe Big Data is only for larger companies, then that is a misconception. Since many resellers and people aren’t exactly aware of the concept of Big Data; it’s correlation with other technology platforms and the support it offers to other technologies. Being aware of new advanced technologies has become vital for business survival today.

Many SMEs are now looking at Big Data as more than just a fad or trend. And few of them have identified the utility of Big Data with regards to sales trends and are using it to improve their productivity and in turn, enhancing profitability. Recent trends in Big Data forecast that the market will witness a growth from $28.65B in 2016 to $66.79 B by 2021 at a CAGR of 18 percent, which is considerably high.

Here’s how you can consider adoption of Big Data for your business

Objective and Goals: The most important question and the step are to identify -what do you want to do with your data? It helps you set up business objectives for the adoption of big data. Client satisfaction that transforms into repeat orders and a loyal customer base that finally translates into profitability is the primary aim of any SME. Customer satisfaction and improved productivity are directly proportionate. An SME will certainly fair well if it provides a quick and an efficient service or product to its clientele. Looking at the sales order trends and data interpretation of the client base will allow SMEs to tailor their services as well as cater efficiently to the requirements of its customers.

Collation of Data and Sources: If you look closely at your day-to-day business routine, you find you are collecting data from varied sources. Only the data is scattered and dispersed and currently in a dormant state. Big Data can help with this; you can collate the data from diverse resources and certainly look at the bigger picture. You do not have to opt for sophisticated data systems to understand this concept, for instance, CRM, i.e., Customer Relationship Management is a database of its clients, orders placed, fulfilled, complaints and resolutions offered -a history of transactions happening over time. Another resource is telephonic conversations made and received from clients; accounting information from the accounting software about customers. All this information when mapped together gives you a clear picture of where you stand regarding a client.

Analysis: After identifying the objectives, collating the data, the next step is interpretation and analysis of data for better business practices and increased productivity.  After looking at the client data, you can identify your loyal customer base and determine as to what your business is doing well with these loyal customers and where do you lack with clients who do not offer repeat business to you. SME’s can also get a grasp on the customer service provided and their reputation in the market through social media interactions.

Now that you understand the how, here is the why, of Big Data for SMEs:

Cash and Risk Management: As far as SMEs and SMBs are concerned, cash reserves and debt access are necessary. Unlike larger companies, they do not have the capacity to sustain a significant risk and need a stable cash flow and risk management system. SME’s do not have a fixed financial reserve; hence, their cash flow profile varies every month, and there is no clarity at any given point of time. Big Data provides SMEs a clear picture about the visibility of its cash and risk potential. In case there are any huge gaps, SMEs can take the relevant steps to prevent the lurking danger.

Broader View: Owing to digitization, you have access to huge volumes of data; however, it is futile when not correlated. Big Data gives SMEs a bigger and broader view of the data since the collated data is associated and a complete picture emerges for interpretation. Stand-alone figures and statistics do not make any sense, but when relevant data supports them, there are no limits on the context of the data.

Quantification: When you look at Big Data, it presents analysis and statistics that are purely quantified, and the information is object-oriented. SMEs find that with relevant information that helps them set up an ideal business and sales model based on balanced and correlated data.

Though you have been traditionally collecting data, in whatever form and equipment that was available to you, with digitization and technological advances, you now have a powerful tool and system in place that scours huge volumes of information, correlates it and filters it for us in a fraction of a second. Whether you are an SME or a large business organization, business decisions based on research and analysis will always enhance your productivity and minimize risk factor.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 December 2017 16:09 )  

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