How SMEs Can Leverage Data to Improve Business Practices


Computing and digital technologies have tremendously reshaped the way many enterprises do business today. Whereas before, businesses relied on traditional business analytics and intelligence tools to study customer behavior and market trends, the use of these same services simply isn’t practical at present due to the huge amounts of data that businesses and their customers generate day by day.

Moreover, not too long ago, big data was the domain of large enterprises, particularly global companies that have to face head on the demands and challenges of operating in complex, geographically distributed environments. Big businesses rely on modern real-time analytics and efficient data replication tools to be able to solve fundamental problems, such as the latency inherent in high-volume data movements, as well as the challenge of moving data between disparate sources and targets.

These days, however, big data has been pushed to the forefront of priorities of even the smallest of businesses. After all, behind all the data that is generated by businesses and customers on a daily basis is a wealth of insight that is just waiting to be discovered and utilized. Some of the advantages of leveraging data include streamlining business operations, creating better customer experiences, optimizing the use of assets and resources, and enabling businesses to become more agile and to make better business decisions in the face of a continuously evolving business landscape.

Presently, small- and medium-sized businesses don’t have to rely on legacy tools or on expensive software to carry out much-needed data integration and analytics activities. This is because startups have begun offering modern tools that are focused specifically on the needs of SMEs. Access to such technologies puts small and medium enterprises in a position of power—enabling them to bridge the competitive advantage of big businesses, which are created by economies of scale and their huge financial resources.

Here are just some of the ways SMEs can use data to their advantage:

Identify Pain Points in Operations

SMEs can analyze big data to be able to spot pain points in their operations. It can be about discovering why customers are abandoning their online shopping carts, finding out why deliveries to customers are always late, or why a certain department of the company is not performing as well as expected. The goal is to be able to identify processes that deliver subpar results, and subsequently, to apply corrective measures that will improve the situation.

Zero in on Customer Wants and Needs

Data analysis can also help you better understand what your customer wants and needs are, allowing you to redesign your products and services—or to develop new, important features—so that your offerings will be more in alignment with actual customer preferences.

Offer Personalized Experiences

Studying user data can help you identify customer groups that you should really be targeting. Furthermore, it will also help you create campaigns and customer experiences—both online and in-store—that appeal better to customers’ identities, as well as more tailored to their requirements.

Better Addressing Customer Concerns

Customer support is still one of the most important aspects of doing business since providing excellent support is essential to customer retention. Smart businesses leverage data to gain a more granular view of their relationship with individual customers, allowing them to better address these customers’ concerns.

Prevent Illegal Activities

Businesses these days also rely on artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to reveal patterns in data, allowing them to proactively prevent illegal or criminal activities. A health insurance provider, for instance, may be able to predict future instances of medical fraud, while a financial institution may discover and prevent attempts at money laundering.

Historically, small and medium enterprises have always been at vanguard when it comes to adopting innovative technologies. In today’s rapidly advancing digital economy, it becomes all the more important for them to re-focus much of their energy toward harnessing the power of data.

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