How Small & Medium Sized Businesses Can Tap Into Big Data and Analytics

By Rahul Agarwal, 

Importance of business analytics

The importance of analytics in today’s business environment cannot be overemphasized. You need clear and rapid insights into your business in order to drive profits, optimally allocate increasingly scarce resources, exploit new opportunities, and proactively respond to risks.  Without such insights, you may take a longer time to arrive at decisions or you may make incorrect decisions that are influenced by limited data or intuition.

A study by Bain & Company has found that companies with the best analytic capabilities outperform the competition in financial performance and in making effective business decisions[1].

Another study by IBM Institute for Business Value recognizes speed of acquiring, analyzing and acting on business data as a source of competitive advantage.[2]

Why do small and medium businesses need analytics

The need for analytics is even more pronounced for a small business. Your bigger competitors could already be using insights from their enterprise data to increase the efficiency of their business operations across product development, marketing and customer service. This can pose a threat to your business and you need insight into your business operations in order to take the right decisions to stay a step ahead of your competition.  In addition, given that you have limited resources, you should be able to monitor and validate if your investments are delivering an expected increase in sales and profits on an ongoing basis. Without these insights, you risk your business being made irrelevant, as it will be extremely hard to ensure profitable and sustained growth of your enterprise.

What should a small/medium sized look for from their analytic solution

Initiating an analytics program can be intimidating especially given the perception that it requires a lot of IT expertise and is timely and costly to implement. So,  if you do not have the budget to invest in larger systems and perhaps cannot afford to hire database administrators and data scientists to operate new systems, you should look for a solution with the following characteristics:

Simple

The analytic system should be simple to manage and maintain, requiring minimal up front design and tuning to load data and execute queries. It should provide easy connectivity to leading extract, transform, and load (ETL), business intelligence, and analytic applications through standard interfaces.

Smart

It should be smart enough to allow quantitative teams to operate on the data directly inside the analytic system instead of having to offload it to a separate infrastructure and deal with the associated data pre-processing, transformation and movement.

Agile

It should be easily incorporated into your data center with simplified installation. Ideally, integration of hardware, software, and storage should be done for you, as this will lead to shorter deployment cycles and excellent time to value for your business intelligence and analytic initiatives.

Affordable

The price should be set right, according to the size and capacity of the system.

At the same time, the analytic system should not compromise on speed, security, reliability and high availability.

PureData System for Analytics  N3001-001

The new PureData System for Analytics  N3001-001 is an appliance that possesses these characteristics. It is designed to deliver fast performance for complex analytics in a powerful and cost-effective solution allowing your business to transition from intuition-driven to an analytics-driven one.  As my colleague, Isaac Moreno Navarro puts it in his blog “If you have a small or midsize business, this is a great opportunity for you to enter the world of big data”.

You can learn more by looking at the data sheet for PureData System for Analytics  N3001-001  here.

About Rahul Agarwal

Rahul Agarwal is a member of the worldwide product marketing team at IBM that focuses on data warehouse and database technology. Rahul has held a variety of business management, product marketing, and other roles in other companies including HCL Technologies and HP before joining IBM.  Rahul studied at the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode and holds a bachelor of engineering (electronics) degree from the University of Pune, India. Rahul’s Twitter handle :  @rahulag80

[1] http://www.bain.com/publications/articles/big_data_the_organizational_challenge.aspx

[2] http://www-935.ibm.com/services/us/gbs/thoughtleadership/2014analytics/

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