It may seem counterintuitive, but compared to large companies, small and midsize organizations (SMBs) tend to be among the earliest technology adopters – even of analytics − because digital innovations are incredibly accessible. So says Howard Dresner, chief research office at Dresner Advisory Services.
“The barrier to entry for capabilities like analytics has dropped precipitously over the last decade,” said Dresner. “The competitiveness of just about every imaginable industry has been enhanced.”
Powered by simple user interfaces and visualization tools, plus improved algorithms and natural language capabilities, analytics are now within the reach of forward-thinking SMBs. This is a good thing because customers expect the same consistent experience across channels and real-time service from every business, regardless of size. SMBs are also increasingly going global, fueled in part by data-driven decision-making. A recent Forbes Insights study sponsored by SAP showcased numerous examples of how SMBs are using data to grow smarter and faster in an age of unprecedented disruption.
Medistance, a 50-person telemedicine company based in Hungary, is using big-data analytics from SAP Business One powered by SAP HANA to make people healthier. With reliable and accurate information from at-home tests conducted by patients, doctors can adjust medicines and dosages in-the-moment, reducing lag times and office visits. “We take full responsibility for quality assurance and management to European and global standards using clinically validated medical devices with cutting-edge M2M data transmission technology for access to this service instead of smartphones,” said Rudolf Mezei, Medistance CEO.
Gray Gallery, a small sculpture and jewelry design gallery in California, is using SAP Anywhere, a cloud-based platform integrating point-of-sale (POS), marketing, inventory and e-commerce to delight elite consumers with a real-time artistic experience online. “We tried to find a way to provide that kind of context and experience,” said Andrew Utas, the gallery’s director. Customers will soon be able to virtually experience wearing a piece of jewelry or standing next to a sculpture.
Mad Rabbit Kicking Tiger (M.R.K.T.), a bags and accessories retailer with offices in Los Angeles and Shanghai, has a real-time view into customer data, inventory and sales from SAP Anywhere, allowing the company to make sophisticated decisions. “With instant access to data, we can see which styles are doing well where, and ship them to Shanghai vs. LA,” said Shaun Nath, co-owner and CEO.
Fumajet, a 22-employee business in Rio de Janeiro providing solutions to control epidemics and agricultural pests, has found a secret weapon in real-time data from operators’ motorcycles and smartphones using SAP Business One software. “With GPS tracking data, we can see how much chemical we apply every day, what areas are covered, how many people are affected and how many mosquitoes were trapped. We can adjust on a daily basis,” said Marcius Victorio da Costa, Director at Fumajet.
Buoyed by successes like these, SMBs in every industry are turning to advanced, cloud-based platforms. A recent study by Mint Jutras confirmed that only a minority of SMBs continue to rely on piecemeal and disjointed approaches to business planning. More companies are combining spreadsheets with other tools and experimenting with analytics. “Many small business owners still believe their gut is their best tool for decision-making. But the world is changing too quickly today to rely on that,” said Cindy Jutras, President of Mint Jutras.
In an algorithmic business world, companies need fact-based insights connecting big-data from customers through internal operations and back. Thanks to cloud-based innovations, analytics are within every SMB’s reach.
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