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How Can SMEs Leverage Big Data to Their Advantage

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How Can SMEs Leverage Big Data to Their Advantage

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Big data presents a tremendous opportunity for businesses to learn more about how to improve their operations, to know what products to launch and even to better understand their customers and competitors.  However, it would seem that big data is geared towards big businesses more.

But even small- and medium-sized enterprises can benefit from big data initiatives.  How?

1. Find out what happens after the sale.

Here’s the thing, do you know what happens to your customers after they buy something from you.  For example, how many of your clients had the experience of returning your items, or how many of your online customers go to Facebook to talk about your company and your products?  Big data allows you to capture these conversations after the customer has paid.

2. Measure everything that matters to you, and should matter to you.

Businesses make the mistake of measuring just one aspect of their activities.  For example, your marketing department would look at the clickthrough rates of your ads.  But they leave it at that.  They have no idea what the customer did after clicking the link, what pages they visited, whether they bought other products and how long they stayed on the page or the whole site.  With big data, you can finally get the whole picture.  Plus, you do not have to consult all that many pages or look at different statistics.   You get it all in one report.

Big data allows you to measure and keep track of everything to help you understand what your customers, suppliers and competitors are doing.

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3. Get all the data you need.

When you delve into big data, you are able to get all the data you need that otherwise have not been inaccessible in the past. Big data brings you mentions on Twitter and Facebook, reviews from various review sites, complaints from different sources, among others.  You could even tap in to mobile data as well.

What do all of these translate to?  You get all the information that you need.  When you get these data analyzed, you will be able to make better and informed decisions on just about anything.  You no longer have to rely on outmoded strategies to grow your small business.  You can get the information you need to grow, all it takes is to know how to analyze it and you are well on your way to gaining better insights about your business.

Small businesses and midsized enterprises have seen great advantages that came with their big data advantages.  In fact, a 2012 survey conducted by Baseline showed that:

  • Close to 6 out of 10 SMEs think that big data helped make their operations even more efficient.
  • More than half said it increased sales.
  • Half said that it helped decrease their IT costs.
  • 48% have said that it helped them become more agile and 46% said it enabled them to attract and retain customers.

What’s more, more than three out of four SMEs saw that big data presented them with a big opportunity.

What to do?

SMEs are really in the best position to try out something new.  Unlike big corporations that suffer from a lot of red tape from several departments, SMEs can move quickly and take advantage of big data and other opportunities that are open to them.  For SMEs, it is always good to be an early adopter.  But that does not mean that you should not start small.

We did talk about measuring everything, but there is no sense to try to measure everything just because you could on your first day getting into big data.  Start slow and build on your success to see what needs to be added and what you should be looking at in order make better decisions.

Photo courtesy of BBVAtech.

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