So you think your business is not so big as to justify investments in Big Data analytics. You’re not alone. Delaying implementation of data analytics solutions has been a symptom of lethargic businesses for a long time. Let’s try to understand more about this — and wake you from your slumber.
Data analytics solutions: Worthwhile for small and medium-sized businesses?
About 10 years back, Big Data and data analytics used to be terms reserved to be spoken only in big enterprise boardrooms. The reason — there was too little knowledge about the potential benefits, the price tags were scary for SMBs, and in-house IT capabilities of making analytics a success story were limited only to multinational corporations.
Today, we live in a different world. There are two concrete forces that have made data analytics solutions worth considering for businesses of all sizes.
First, cloud computing has enabled vendors to provide affordable, flexible, and scalable data analytics solutions that make it possible for small businesses to board the analytics train.
Second, because of digital storage of business information (websites, e-commerce stores, process documents, customer and product databases, human resources information databases, etc.) business now realize that they possess assets that can be put to work to generate insights for better business decision making.
So, let’s agree that data analytics is a relevant question for you to explore. That’s why you’re reading this guide, right? We’ll give you several more reasons to consider floating a request for proposal (RFP) for data analytics solutions soon enough. Read on.
Enabler of inexpensive customer experience personalization
Personalization of the customer experience of interacting or doing business with your brand is the best way to reduce customer attrition. Data analytics solutions make this possible very quickly. By setting up a few targeted campaigns, companies can easily identify customers that can be assigned to specific groups. By working with the master data management people from your IT department, you can easily have these new categories and identifiers assigned in each customer’s master data record.
Once this activity is done, you can easily organize customers in multilayered categories, and can easily deliver highly targeted promotions, highly tailored communications, and highly relevant product suggestions to customers, personalizing their experience without really investing much effort on individual customer-level planning.
This helps small and medium-sized businesses retain their customers and differentiate themselves from similar competitors who’re yet to use data analytics to plan on tailored sales and marketing experiences for customers.
The days of complexity in data analytics are over
Historically, data analytics has been known to be difficult to understand (kind of like listening to some of the goofy dialogue in “Matrix III” or trying to figure out the plot of “Ocean’s 11”!), especially for SMBs that don’t have mature in-house IT capabilities. However, things have improved massively.
Today, data analytics tools come with highly enriching GUIs that enable anybody with basic knowledge of computer applications to work using them, but this still probably does not include Harry Solomon from “3rd Rock from the Sun” or Napoleon Dynamite. Moreover, the agility with which data analytics solutions can deliver reports and insight today is amazing. For instance, if you are in the retail business, you can easily set up campaigns to:
- Identify days of the month where sales are low and require a promotional push.
- Identify customers known to default on payments.
- Identify products that sell well together (like peanut butter and honey!).
- Identify replenishment times for fast-moving products, and using the information to set up an automated email marketing campaign.
The possibilities are many — SMBs just need to take the first step of initiating dialog with one of the many cloud-based analytics solution providers.
Analytics extends in scope beyond business data, to deliver unimaginable value
Surprise — data analytics is not just about your business data. Modern analytics solutions take things a step ahead and integrate your business data with open source and public domain data to deliver contextualized analysis that can help you make some amazing business decisions. For instance, analytics tools use macroeconomic indicators to measure consumer spending patterns and can easily report key patterns that can help you make smarter business decisions. Other sources of important data can be:
- data on local events
- new area store openings
- upcoming holidays
- population trends
- government agency websites’ data
From planning on your sales geographies to deciding on the pricing mix for your new product line, these analytics tools help you with pretty much every business decision you can make based on data-driven insight.
Availability of superb analytics platforms for small businesses
For most businesses, choosing an analytics platform, eventually, becomes a question of budgeting. This is where we urge you to look in the marketplace; there are analytics platforms that you can get started on for as low as around $100 a month. These platforms offer monthly subscriptions with different packages, priced according to the features included in them. It is not like watching a terrible movie like “Meet the Parents II” or “Jurassic World” costs the same as an incredible movie such as “Sicario” or “American Assassin.”
Even the most basic packages will offer advanced data analytics capabilities, compatibility with most of your data sources and formats, and sophisticated, customizable reporting to help managers make better decisions.
You can set up dedicated analytics campaigns, for instance, to track ROIs on your Christmas season business promotion activities. These platforms help you bring your invaluable existing data on board and assist you in devising data strategies that make ongoing data archiving much more efficient, helping the analytics engines work in a well-oiled manner.
You can even find process and department-specific analytics platforms for specific solutions for website analytics, e-store analytics, customer relationship management and lifetime values analytics, materials management and supply chain analytics, and what not. As long as you have a specific need, you’ll be able to find a specific and affordable data analytics solution for it.
Prepare your budget pitch
There you have it. Within every aspect of your business, there are irrefutable benefits that data analytics can deliver to your firm. Moreover, cloud-powered SaaS solutions make it easy and affordable for SMBs to embrace the most advanced Big Data analytics. So, think it over, and use this guide to prepare your pitch for a portion of the IT budget to be kept aside for analytics solutions for your business.
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