Time For Embracing Big Data: 03 Benefits Of Big Data For Small Business

Time For Embracing Big Data: 03 Benefits Of Big Data For Small Business

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The term big data may bring up the ideas of huge supercomputers crunching numbers for large financial institutions and big companies to your mind. However, this is a misconception, because big data is not only for big business, any business of any size can take advantage of big data with a little hard work and intention.

Freely available software such as Google Analytics and other Software as a Service (SaaS) options, put the power of big data style analytics into the hands of small and medium enterprises – at a fraction of the cost.

The term “Big Data” was originally used to describe datasets that were so large that computers could not handle them. These days, Big Data is applied to the analysis of data that falls into the 3Vs: Volume, Variety, and Velocity. While some feel that Big Data is inapplicable to smaller datasets that smaller companies tend to use, the ‘smart data analytics’ approach is no less useful.

Big Data and smart data analytics are not just for bigger companies with big budgets. Suitable tools, as well as the training to use them, are readily available for SMEs and SMBs to utilize.

A CASE STUDY: LIMS

Adopting data analytics software is often viewed as challenging, especially when experts continually talk about requiring specialist tech people to be involved in the process. It is also seen as heavy additional costs.

While that may be true in adopting systems such as Hadoop or Salesforce, there are several cloud-based solutions at much more affordable price points. Choosing a suitable SaaS platform can make the process simple to use and actually reduce manpower needs – like it did for LIMs, an office goods retailer based in Singapore.

LIMs inventory management used to be handled by 8 staff using a server, point-of-sale, register system, and cash register. After switching to a cloud-based solution, LIMs was able to handle their inventory with just two people.

Not only was their inventory management across multiple regions streamlined, it allowed them to access multiple sales channels, work with multiple currencies, and even access real-time analytics reports on how they are faring against their competitors.

Benefits Of Using Smart Data Analytics:

1. REDUCED COSTS = INCREASED SAVINGS

LIMs reduction in their manpower needs for inventory management is just one example of cost reduction that analytics can provide. Cost reduction opportunities can also come from more effective route planning for deliveries, by tapping into real-time traffic information and redirecting routes to avoid heavy traffic conditions.

Supply chain improvements can also contribute to improved profitability, for example using the data to match customer needs with available products and stocking up on products only when required.

This can help with improved product lifespan, reduce storage costs, as well as space/product wastage.

2. ACTIONABLE KNOWLEDGE FOR EVERYONE

Sales managers can have good instincts on what customers need and be able to anticipate their requests based on experience. This knowledge, however, is highly personalized and internal.

Good analytics can tap not only into company data, but also consumer opinions, that not only supports this deep instinctual knowledge, but also provides this information to other relevant staff in other departments, such as warehouse and delivery managers, thus allowing these members of the organization to take action as well.

3. IMPROVED DECISION MAKING

Much of the data to be included into analytics already exists within most companies, but often in traditional, manual forms – logbooks, excel spreadsheets and printed reports.

This mine of useful information is often not used or presented in a way that helps in the decision-making process, which is a waste.

By having analytics software, it helps store and present the data in a visual way that allows us to see where improvements can be made in business processes. Imagine being able to tap into buying patterns and combine it with inventory information.

This allows businesses to predict and take positive, targeted actions for customers, as opposed to waiting and being reactive to them. For example, being able to predict when a region/client would need a great about of lubricant for their machines and ensuring that suitable amounts of stock to be delivered before the need actually arises.

BIG DATA FOR EVERYBODY:

Big Data and smart data analytics are not just for bigger companies with big budgets. Suitable tools, as well as the training to use them, are readily available for SMEs and SMBs to utilize.

The benefits and real-time decision-making advantages these tools provide mean that it is not a question of if they should be adopted but when they will be.

These tools, when applied correctly, help with the scalability of a business and allows smaller businesses to enjoy the same enterprise experience as big players.

Cover Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

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Shahin Alom

Shahin Alom is a Deputy General Manager, S&M at MJL Bangladesh Limited and a contributor to Future Startup. A B.Sc in Mechanical and M.Sc in Petroleum Engineering, he has been working in Sales and Marketing for the last 11 years. He can be reached at [email protected]

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