In the past, business intelligence was a privilege of large companies who could afford to maintain teams of IT specialists and data scientists. But in the last decade, as technology has developed rapidly, the software has become not only more lightweight and powerful but also more accessible. Small businesses can use the same tools as main market players and face their competitors. New self-service tools prove that business intelligence is no rocket science but rather a useful tool to help to turn data into informed decisions. Now every company can harness the power of modern BI software to raise their bottom line since business intelligence for small business has become accessible and affordable. But what exactly makes business intelligence indispensable?
To get started in this journey, it is essential to know that BI can be adapted to any business model or industry. We have seen in our other blog posts, on how to build a successful business intelligence strategy , or harnessing the power of financial reporting and analysis , how to leverage the power of a modern business dashboard and make the most out of your small business data analytics. A need for a large department gathering and analyzing all the data gathered, circling those data in different departments, and showing it to many stakeholders it's a model of the past. In this digital age, accessing your data in almost real-time is of crucial importance if you want to stay on top of the market. That being said, a majority of reports and analysis needed to make quick, informed, detailed and robust decisions, can be accessed within few clicks, shared with a simple link, and analyzed via simple charts that can make business decision-making process and action time much faster.
In this post, we aim at helping you benefiting from business analytics for small businesses. To do so, we gathered the most important reasons why business intelligence for small business is a smart choice, and how to implement a big data strategy for small businesses. As a small business owner, all the data needed for a successful business operation can be gathered in a simple, live dashboard. That means that you will have access to all your operational analysis and key factors needed to run a successful business. It doesn't matter if you own a small agency, store or restaurant; small business analytics are needed in every step of the way to learn how to adjust to your customers and perform the best possible way, and that is the key ingredient to market success.
What Is Small Business Analytics?
Small business analytics refers to the techniques and practices to measure a specific performance of a small company, be it on an operational or strategic level. It is used to evaluate small datasets to gain insights on a particular project or a company process.
It is true that small data is more accessible than big data, but it doesn't mean that utilizing it effectively doesn't require any effort. If you want your business to achieve better results, it is important to acquire the right mindset and become a data-driven organization. This requires you to adjust the way your company manages its daily operations from the top executives down to the floor level. It is not a complicated process if you set clear objectives, define the reporting tools you want to work with, and start creating your first BI for small business operations. To tackle deeper into analytics for small business, let's see how small data correlates with the more wide-ranging business word - big data.
There are many definitions of small data trending around the web - in most cases built upon its opposition to big data. Other definitions accentuate the more human side of small data as it is usually generated and entered into the system by a human rather than a machine. Moreover, this type of data is usually contained in an operational database - your CRM or ERP is not big enough to be called big data. Moreover, it can be managed within a MySQL database - and the crunching power will suffice. Small data analytics is based on the notion that a business should efficiently use the resources it already has and avoid overspending on additional technologies or external infrastructure.
In his Forbes article , Mike Kavis takes a slightly different take on small data, highlighting the fact that it includes only very specific attributes. It is used to determine current states and conditions, which can be generated for example by sensors deployed on wind turbines, small packages or attached to drones to provide very specific information - about location, temperature etc. All these small data sets collected in real time create a bigger picture in the form of big data sets that give us a historical, multifaceted view.
How To Utilize Your Small Business Analytics?
Small data can provide you with insights that will serve as key factors determining your decision-making process. However, because of the way organizations approach small data, they tend to be overlooked in the overall data management. There are many reasons why you should treat the non-big data seriously, we list a few of them:
Focus on target - Big data sees the overall performance, small data drills down to uncover specific actions that lead to improved results. All you need to do is start by identifying your KPIs and the people responsible for each status and assigning them the task of tracking the development of a particular indicator.
Actionable - Big data reports provide information on every department and every metrics which can be extremely interesting. If you want to get real value from your data, it must inspire you to make quick strategic and organizational changes: it should be problem-oriented and not too general and overwhelming.
All about what is happening now - Small data provides focused real-time information that allows you to spot trends immediately and act accordingly. But big data also has an ace up its sleeve - the historical insights. If you need past data, or want to juxtapose the present with the past, you cannot do without big data.
Delivered ready to be served - Small data is delivered to you in the format of easily digestible data bites. Small data sets are already targeted and strategic and can be sent to key decision makers or employees responsible for a particular task. Your coworkers will be more likely to utilize reports that will deliver them clear and meaningful insights on the spot.
Although small data is part of big data, it can also be used separately in a business that doesn't have the need to delve into the vast amount of information and doesn't have a high quantity of departments or stakeholders to manage or present it . But every business needs a clear overview of where they stand on the market, how to achieve desired results and what to optimize to get the most out of your resources. That being said, we will discuss how to start with BI for small business and what to consider when analyzing your data with actionable tips and tricks.