SMBs: Seeding growth with analytics

Credit: Image credit: Adam Kahtava/Flickr

Not that long ago, business intelligence systems were out of reach for most small-to-medium-sized businesses. For SMBs, analyzing data was not as critical as simply processing it through business applications. From a proprietor’s perspective, any data analysis that Excel couldn’t handle probably was not worth the time and trouble.

That’s all changed. Today, SMBs are awash in data from multiple sources. Beyond their own internal applications, they collect data on visitor activity to their websites. They use data-driven services from critical business services such as Groupon, Google’s AdWords, and’s Associates programs. SMBs are among the fastest growing segment in data-rich online advertising, according to research from iDate.

Instead of drowning in the data they get from these services, many SMBs are swimming with its tide in order to reach new business opportunities. They run free basic analytics apps from Google and others to find trends among their customers and learn how to apply them to their business. Or, they get even richer analytics from fee-based online business intelligence services in the cloud. Some even run commercial packages in their own modest data centers. As a result, SMBs are getting more insights into their business potential from big data.

There are countless ways digging into their data can improve SMB operations and sales. They can get a jump on when to adjust staffing levels based on shifts in sales data. They improve marketing programs by parsing the data in more refined ways than Excel. Inc. magazine reports on how analytics can help SMBs refine their websites to drive more sales.

What I find exciting is that as more SMBs build successful businesses through thoughtful data analysis, analytics will become far more prevalent, perhaps someday becoming as ubiquitous as Excel. Naturally, that is a good thing for my company. But it’s also a true benefit to local and regional economies by helping make local businesses become more efficient and better prepared for growth. And analytics might help propel more than a few SMBs to become major enterprises with a global impact.

Related reading: Invent new possibilities with HANA, SAP's game-changing in-memory software SAP Sybase IQ Database 15.4 provides advanced analytic techniques to unlock critical business insights from Big Data SAP Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise is a high-performance RDBMS for mission-critical, data-intensive environments. It ensures highest operational efficiency and throughput on a broad range of platforms. SAP SQL Anywhere is a comprehensive suite of solutions that provides data management, synchronization and data exchange technologies that enable the rapid development and deployment of database-powered applications in remote and mobile environments Overview of SAP database technologies

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