James Watson, Analytics Sales Manager for General Business at SAP discusses what SMEs should have on their radar when thinking about analytics for their business
Data is fast becoming the most important business asset of the 21st Century! When such distinguished business leaders as Sir Terry Leahy attribute the success of Tesco to data it’s time to sit up and take notice. However data in itself is only half the story. Analytics is the key to unlocking the value hidden in data and arguably analytics is one of the most game-changing technologies of recent times.
It is easy to think that high powered analytics is the preserve of the big corporates, however there is now a much wider range of solutions allowing SMEs to put analytics at the core of their strategy in order to gain competitive advantage in an ever crowded marketplace.
So what should SMEs have on their radar when thinking about analytics for their business?
Access to information
We all know that reacting quickly to business environments is essential to achieve business growth. With so much customer data at our finger tips, SMEs need to recognise this as an opportunity and be reactive to the insights that are available to them.
Analysing trends and behaviours of customers is just one way that analytics can help SMEs provide a superior customer service and grow revenue or profits. By recognising individual buying habits and behaviours, SMEs can provide tailored offers and targeted marketing campaigns. Tactics such as upselling products or suggesting similar items can make customer experiences feel more personal; encouraging them to return to you, and not competitors!
Turning raw and often complex data into actionable insight is an enormous challenge; but one SMEs should not be afraid of. At SAP, we enable companies to conduct descriptive and predictive analysis on standard and big data to both understand the present and predict the future. As a result, SMEs are able to predict immensely valuable information ranging from the future value of customers to sales forecasts and operational risks.
How can you differentiate yourself from competitors and spot opportunities ahead of them?
The answer is speed. The quicker a trend or pattern is recognised, the quicker you can act upon it. Real-time processing of data means that businesses can move forwards, not backwards. Gartner forecasts that by 2016, 70% of the most profitable companies will manage their business processes using real-time predictive analytics.
As organisations expand both locally and globally, having access to information at their fingertips is key. For example, a car dealership needs to be able to tap into supplier’s information in real-time to access sales figures and make more informed decisions about stock availability.
With deployment models such as Managed Cloud as a Service (MCaaS) available, SMEs are able to quickly implement solutions to meet the needs of their business.
By acknowledging that analytics holds significant potential for a multitude of purposes, both for exploiting opportunities and minimising risks in future events, SMEs can gain a competitive advantage.
Putting analysis of data at the centre of organisational strategy and ensuring that appropriate skills and technology are in place, will ensure SMEs are well placed to steer their organisations to future success.
The race is now on to harness data faster and more effectively than competitors.