Small businesses have interesting times in store for them ahead. With the advent of a new era of IoT and automation, imagine the amount of data that every organization, big and small, is generating.
Data is valuable — whether it is data companies collect about customers who are using their products or services, or data generated through marketing campaigns or even social media. Analysis of the data can uncover vital clues to what may be going wrong or how to enhance the organization. Data, and the insights that data uncovers, if correctly harnessed, can certainly fuel growth and dominance for small businesses.
From dark data towards the light of insights
It is estimated that over 90% of all business data available may be “dark data” – that is, data that has been generated but is not being used by the organization, either for analytics (which could reveal insights to help make better decisions) or for any other business process, such as customer service, or for monetizing it in any way.
It is actually a myth that data analytics tools are too expensive for small businesses. Technology has advanced to such an extent that the market is awash with many different types of digital tools for data analysis. Most of these tools are now based on an AI/ML model, which means that as the ML model receives more and more data, the system learns rapidly and generates better and more powerful automated insights. Such is the impact that automation and artificial intelligence are bringing to the field of data analytics.
There are several reasons why small businesses need to focus on using their self-service analytics tools to derive data insights. Let’s take a look at some of them:
The Goliath effect
A seeming paradox: small businesses may actually benefit from their lack of scale! Or, to put it another way, much like in the biblical tale of how David the giant was defeated by Goliath — who was significantly smaller — small businesses can benefit significantly more than larger enterprises from not-very-large-scale data projects.
Small businesses are more nimble than large enterprises. So, once they have data analysis tools in place and are able to derive insights out of the data, they have the agility to quickly implement the changes suggested by the data and use the insights for making better business decisions.
At a smaller scale of business, the transformative power of data may actually be enhanced. Small changes in business processes could lead to a large, transformative change in performance and yield huge benefits.
In larger organizations, people and processes may be set into patterns that are hard to change. So improvements based on data insights may be difficult to implement. But in smaller organizations, with flatter hierarchies, change decisions may be adopted more rapidly, and people are usually more flexible, thus enabling easier change management.
Save on human resources
Small businesses also have small teams, as many of them cannot afford to employ large teams of skilled resources purely for data analysis. Experts like data scientists and specialized IT teams who can handle business data systems are expensive. Small businesses may find that investing in a modern, cloud-based, AI-powered data analytics tool may actually be more cost-effective than hiring expensive human resources. Automated data insights derived from the use of such tools help with faster and better decision-making at the top management layer.
Small businesses, big disruptions
Historically, disruptive technologies have been credited to the newer kids on the block – i.e. startups, small, niche businesses that are on a high-growth track, have been the ones who have driven innovation and disruption. With every aspect of modern businesses having a digital touchpoint, data has become the major asset in these businesses. If this data is harnessed using automated analytics tools and used to generate data insights, think of the disruptive potential created!
Ease of adoption
Small businesses have tighter, more integrated teams. These teams are usually highly motivated to implement transformative initiatives as the potential for large-scale change brings direct credit and benefit to these teams. Change management becomes easier as the teams have strong communication ties and imparting change management education is also easier. This means that smaller teams adopt new technology more readily and are more likely to comply with the usage of digital tools in their day-to-day operations.
Efficiency improvements can be game-changers
Typically, small businesses face very high competition. And resources, in terms of time and people, are relatively low. This means that performance and efficiency need to be pretty well-managed in order to sustain the business in a highly competitive environment. Any resources that are wasted directly hits the bottom line of the business. This makes a strong case for small businesses to focus on data insights using AI-powered, automated tools. Performance data can be tracked, analyzed and reviewed, and business process, growth strategies or marketing campaigns can be optimized using the data insights to yield better performance and reduce wastage.
Self-service data analytics tools are revolutionizing the way small businesses use data. Highly sophisticated tools are now available, and cloud-based technologies and SaaS-based pricing make these tools an attractive investment for small businesses. In fact, they can use their small scale as an advantage and achieve faster adoption, using data insights to drive transformation in their business operations.
Treehouse Technology Group offers one such data analytics tool through our InsightOut platform to bring the transformative power of data insights into the realm of small businesses. A self-service data management platform, InsightOut is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses and helps reveals the unique and compelling story of each business through data insights. Request a demo today.