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Author's profile photo Emily Mui

Is Big Data a Big Deal for SMEs?

On my birthday this year, I received several birthday emails. I had expected ones from my friends and colleagues but surprisingly these emails were from my insurance company, the online web stores I frequent and yes, even the car dealership where I bought my car. These days, friends wish each other happy birthday through Facebook. This got me thinking about how much our way of living has changed – from the way we communicate, purchase goods, and interact with insurance agents, car salesmen and even our relatives. Online living has become a way of life and online data is growing.  

This made me think about the adoption of technology and how it has fueled the explosion of data. Everywhere you look, data is growing exponentially and the use of this data is making it possible to do what seemed like the impossible just 5 years ago.  Check out this video for proof points. Think of all the capitalists drooling over companies which can now be more precise on how they develop, market, and sell their products. And for all those humanists, big data is furthering genetic research. Scientists can now isolate genes that are receptive to drugs or determine how our genetic makeup is susceptible to certain diseases. 

Studies show the use of information makes companies more competitive  – hence, the adoption of business intelligence among companies large or small. And now we are seeing an evolution of BI – with the explosion of data growth AND types compounded by demand for results and actions in real time. Think of all the data generated—90 % over the last two years—and the possibilities of extracting insights from text, comments, twitter feeds, POS data, GPS data or web logs with transactional data.. With the uptake of in-memory computing, evolving business intelligence solutions and lower costs of storage, the time for Big Data is now—regardless of the size of a company. 

Most companies have the same wants and aspirations to be profitable, efficient in their operations and to increase customer profitability.  The primary difference between an enterprise and a small or midsize business are the constraints. Big Data can be the genie in the bottle if unleashed to help companies compete and be more profitable.  Check out some of these small and midsize customer stories and how they have unleashed the power of big data:

CIR Foods – Italian food business using big data to optimize human resource allocation at restaurants and reduce waste in its supply chain.

Bigpoint – Online gaming site using big data to understand player’s usage patterns to increase revenue per player.

Mitsui Knowledge Industries – An information service provider performs big data analysis to deliver advanced medical treatments. By reducing genome analysis time from days to 20 minutes MKI is helping revolutionize cancer treatment.

So is Big Data a big deal for smaller and midsize organizations? The use of Big Data is putting pressure on companies big or small to rethink how they stay competitive. The different use cases in this Forbes article can be inspirational to companies looking to see how they can leverage their data.  If your company is a small or midsize business, we welcome your story on how Big Data is OR can be a BIG deal for you organization.  

To learn how SAP helps organizations make better use of their Big Data challenges, visit

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