It’s becoming increasingly important for small businesses to leverage their customer data in order to make better business decisions. But how can your SME best benefit from data analytics?
What are data analytics?
According to a recent definition by TechTarget, data analytics is the process of examining data sets in order to draw conclusions about the information they contain.
Where Big data is focussed on finding a pattern in raw and unstructured data sets, data analytics – on the other hand – is looking at smaller data sets with more of a focussed purpose. For example, you can set out to compare the customer data collected from your brick and mortar store with those from your online store. What can this data teach you about customer behaviour?
Data analytics lets you use your data to spot trends in the market – or to spot patterns in customer behaviour. When used effectively, your data analytics can suggest recommendations that will make your business more agile and efficient.
These days, most people will count data analytics as part of business intelligence (BI) solutions, which is described as an “umbrella term that includes the applications, infrastructure and tools, and best practices that enable access to and analysis of information to improve and optimise decisions and performance,” by Gartner’s definition.
Why your SME Should Embrace Data Analytics
Data analytics can enable your business to improve efficiency, increase revenue, optimise customer support efforts and respond to market trends at a faster pace. Essentially, it can give you a competitive edge in your industry, and provide you with a serious boost in business performance.
Despite the obvious benefits, the adoption of analytics tools and big data analytics services are lagging behind their potential, if we are to believe technology journalist Tommy Peterson. This is likely due to the fact that business intelligence tools are not always considered a priority within smaller organisations, who often have more strained resources than their larger counterparts. For some, the employees might not be familiar with the use or the purpose of the analytics tools. And for other, it requires too much additional training in order to use the data analytics services in the productive way possible. Peterson, however, appears optimistic as the uptake of analytics applications are slowly increasing worldwide, with the introduction of automatic and cloud-based solutions.
“You can take it as far as you want to go into the data you gather as a company, but right now SMEs are not generally taking it very far yet,” he concludes. In other words, it’s time for small businesses to think more analytically. But how can you do this?
Essentially, the easiest way to leverage small business data analytics is to implement a software solution that can automate the entire analytics process for you. And lucky for you, there are plenty of good options on the market.
The Importance of Data Democracy
Recently, we’ve seen a lot of discussions regarding the concepts of data regimes, such as data democracy and data aristocracy. Will you need to consider this?
Unfortunately, across many larger organisations we find what is often referred to as data aristocracy. This concept refer to the fact that data analysts and data scientists are needed to provide any meaningful information.
The ideal situation, for both large organisations and small businesses alike, should be to implement a data democracy. Essentially, this is a regime in which employees themselves – regardless of prior data experience – access the data and insights that they need, rather than first having to order it through busy, overworked technical staff.
For a small business with limited resources, it’s imperative that you choose a data analytics tool that will enable your business to have a data democracy. In order for you to be as efficient as possible, your employees should be able to connect data sources and generate insights without the help of internal support.
Selecting Data Analytics Service Providers
If you’re running a business in 2019, you’re likely generating a lot of data.
When used correctly, this data can be a window into customer behaviour and the state of your business. By letting this actionable information work for you, you can efficiently market your products and services to your customers, design and offer products that meet their exact needs, forecast more accurately, and streamline all your operations.
In addition, this can all lead to increased revenue at the end of the day.
If you’re in the market for a data analytics service provider to take your intelligence to the next level, it’s imperative that you first consider your requirements. Will this be your first attempt at utilising data analytics? Or have you already put them to good use in the past? Which insights are the most important to you? And how much of your budget are you willing to allocate?
Smaller businesses will rarely have the resources that larger conglomerations do. If you can’t afford a state-of-the-art data analytics tool or team of dedicated data scientists, you must decide on how – with your current resources and budget – you can best analyse and make sense of your data. Let’s take a look at a few of the best analytics tools currently on the market.
Let’s start by introducing one of the best free analytics tools on the market. A staple in the tool case of most online businesses, Google Analytics is the proof that you don’t need expensive software in order to start understanding your customers.
With Google Analytics, you can track data trends, visitor behaviour, bounce rates, referral sites and how your audience engages with your content. This knowledge can enable you to make better data-driven decisions – without breaking the bank.
Understanding your data doesn’t have to be complicated.
ClearStory Data is a solid tool that can offer advanced data analytics and key insights presented in a straightforward way. This makes it the perfect solution for teams who want to use data analytics services, but might be strained when it comes to resources.
By using a StoryBoard feature which allows you to create interactive visuals and graphs, you can share quick and easy-to-grasp insights with your entire team. Essentially, it’s an AI-driven approach to understanding complex data.
For businesses with more of a generous budget, you might benefit from conducting your own research in order to build richer data sources.
According to their website, “Qualtrics is the platform that the world’s most iconic companies use to close experience gaps and deliver breakthrough results. The XM Platform makes it simple for any organisation to collect, understand, and take action on experience data – the beliefs, emotions, and sentiments of customers.” This is a good and solid tool for anyone looking to upgrade their rich data sources.
IBM Cognos Analytics
If you’re looking to make sense of the world of big data, then IBM Cognos Analytics might be the perfect fit for you. This big data analytics tool can make predictive business insights easily available to even small businesses. In addition, the platform is easy to use, meaning that you don’t need a team of data analysts at hand to make sense of it all.
Cognos Analytics is driven entirely by artificial intelligence, and it can help you effortlessly unearth any hidden insight – no matter your experience or budget.
Grow with YourShortlist
Investing in a good data analytics tool can be the key that unlocks business growth in 2019. But how can you find the right solution for your business?
YourShortlist offer expert, non-chargeable IT buying advice to help you find the right solution. Our data experts can offer a shortlist of potential vendors, all of whom can offer an appropriate solution based on your exact requirements. Click on the Contact Us button, and we will get back to you with your next data analytics solution. What are you waiting for?