How Small & Medium Sized Businesses Can Tap Into BI Analytics
The importance of analytics in today’s business environment cannot be overemphasized. You need clear and rapid insights into your business in order to drive profits, optimally allocate increasingly scarce resources, exploit new opportunities, and proactively respond to risks.
This is why the enormous amount of data available makes data analysis an indispensable tool for growing businesses.
What are some of the unique challenges that SMBs face with respect to business analytics?
SMBs primarily face the issue of scale.
Most SMBs have Excel experts who can generate some great static charts and graphs and we are not denying the value those reports. But there’s so much more value that can be derived from in-depth analyses. Once SMB executives get a real glimpse of the insights that are lurking beneath the surface of their transactional data, their willingness to adopt business analytics could increase very much.
In addition to a shift in decision-making style, cash constraints can pose very real obstacles for an SMB that wants to mature in this area. The long-lasting return on investment far outweighs the capital required to undergo the transition.
IT resources and infrastructure
IT staff in SMBs is usually stretched thin, and that can make it very difficult to expand the IT mandate beyond critical business operations in managing business analytics environments.
Business analytics maturity
SMBs must have an appreciation for the level of skills required to meet overall strategic goals through business analytics. Research from Aberdeen Group suggests that SMBs without the relevant skill sets are poorly positioned to drive value from an analytical solution. It reports that SMBs using some sort of analytical applications perform at a higher level than their competitors that do not.
The main SMB challenge of moving to business analytics is the understanding of its impact on these four critical areas, and building a capability that is cost-effective and remains flexible and easy to use.
Why should SMBs adopt business analytics?
Your bigger competitors could already be using insights from their enterprise data to increase the efficiency of their business operations across product development, marketing and customer service. This can pose a threat to your business and you need insight into your business operations in order to take the right decisions to stay a step ahead of your competition. In addition, given that you have limited resources, you should be able to monitor and validate if your investments are delivering an expected increase in profits on an ongoing basis. Without these insights, you risk your business being made irrelevant, as it will be extremely hard to ensure profitable and sustained growth of your enterprise.
What’s the best way for SMBs to tackle the adoption of business analytics?
Let’s break it down a bit.
There is a general approach to the adoption of business analytics. Transparency is the key at the SMB level as SMB executives are traditionally heavily involved in analysis, reporting and the decision-making process. SMBs should be clear about how business analytics will resolve a compelling issue or attract and retain customers or minimize the operating cost, for example.
Secondly, strategy is to focus on a particular business process or issue and not on the broader level. This will occur naturally as you solve more focused issues, building up confidence, in fact-based decision making as a core competency.
And finally, don’t rest on your laurels. Capitalize on your initial success to broaden deployment to other areas of the organization. Those adoptions move faster once you can point to a successful track record in another area.
This not only resolves the cash flow and IT staff/infrastructure problem but also helps in improving the decision making style and maturing the business level analysis.
EZlytix’ deep industry know-how and expertise with a number of data sources, and focus on delivering meaningful data driven analytics to business users are the foundation for being a trusted partner to our customers.
Learn more about the Analytics that can save you millions while increasing your profits.