Why tapping into power data is inescapable reality and boon for SMEs

27 July 2022

The advanced analytics market is expected to cross $214 billion by 2030 at a CAGR of 21.1% from 2022, with the predictive analytics sector alone expected to cross $55 billion simultaneously. While these numbers may sound staggering, big data and analytics are following an expected trajectory - given that over 90% of enterprises have enabled cloud deployment. It means that the sheer volume of data flowing from enterprises of all sizes has already sounded the alarm bells concerning the importance of data, irrespective of the market.

Why is this so important? Well, that depends on serious you are about beating the competition! Since it lets you personalize the service, you would be able to build a more meaningful relationship with customers. If you don't, you can best believe that your competitor is waiting for them - ready to turn their data into service hooks that reel them in.

Data personalization matters, and here's why

If you use Netflix, you probably know the value of data personalization. Imagine being recommended a movie that is on the opposite spectrum of your taste? Wouldn't that deter you from future recommendations? Unfortunately, that's exactly how customers feel. Now, it may seem like something suited for retail, especially e-commerce, businesses - that's just a myth. While personalization plays a big role in helping retailers improve the quality of customer engagement, data analytics is also a transformational force in industries like F&B, BFSI, healthcare, telecom, and more.

With customers becoming increasingly digital-first, the near future will see them generate significantly more data for small-sized businesses. So, the onus is on ensuring that all the tools are in place to help customers take the next best action based on insights drawn from their previous interactions, browsing habits, demographics, etc.

What are the key barriers for non-tech business owners to adopt data technology?

The benefits of leveraging data power may be undeniable, but things aren't exactly hunky dory when it comes to execution. Many SME owners continue to face barriers, such as:

  • Disparate touch-points across siloed systems - decentralizing the collection of data
  • Low quality of data due to inept discovery, storage, or analytical tools
  • Lack of availability of skilled data management resources
  • Increasing costs of working with certified data scientists
  • Poor data visualization - usually due to inefficient dashboard and reporting capabilities

How to start your journey with data in 4 simple steps

As mammoth as some of these barriers may be, there's no escaping the fact that embarking on a data analytics journey is no longer an option. In order to survive in the current hyper-competitive marketplace, it is absolutely necessary. Of course, eventually, you would need an expert or a simple-to-use AI-based data platform to establish the right workflows and make sure this happens. However, even before you get there, it would help to follow these four simple steps.

  • Get senior management buy-in: Change takes place across the business, but it starts from the top. So, unless the senior leaders see the bigger picture and help chart the course, your data analytics journey may come to an end before it starts.
  • Identify a business use case: Many businesses talk about enterprise-wide data transformation without realizing that it isn't the need of the hour. Nine out of 10 times, it is practical to start small by identifying a viable use case and working on it. Then, you can check whether you have the suitable tools and resources to work on larger and more mission-critical projects.
  • Create a best-fit data team: Most small-sized businesses can't afford to form large teams that can handle end-to-end data management processes. Hence, you must find the right mix of certified internal and external resources. The other option would be to go for a no-code platform that requires no training for deployment and usage.
  • Establish data governance protocols: Collecting and harnessing a massive amount of data is just half the battle. The other is to establish governance protocols to prevent compliance issues, improper user access and verification, etc.

Final thoughts

Oddly enough, a lot of SMEs don't realize the value of data stored in their systems. So, they tend to miss out on the tremendous benefits of being able to transform the raw, unstructured datasets into actionable game-changing insights. Finding data solutions and platforms is the easy part. You're one Google search away from making those calls to vendors. But it is even more crucial to build a data-first mindset into the fabric of your business. Your customers already have done so in their minds. Can you really afford to be left behind?