Solve Your Top 3 IT Challenges Pt. 3: How SMBs Keep Up with Technology

By now, the majority of Small and Mid-sized Businesses (SMBs) know they need to keep up with technology to keep pace with the competition. According to researchers with SMB group, 72% of decision makers for SMBs say technology solutions can help them make significant improvements to operations and business outcomes. However, most SMBs lack the internal IT resources needed to leverage technology innovations.

Technology is a critical driver of business today. The most successful companies use technological advancements, like big data analysis to understand their customers and market, assess current and future risk factors, and improve operations.

As with other the other SMB IT challenges we've covered in this series (the IT skill gap and security concerns) the Cloud enables businesses at any scale to keep up with advancements in technology.

Here are three key benefits of Cloud-based big data analytics for SMBs:

Understand Customers and Market

As customer data proliferates, companies have unprecedented opportunities to understand their customers' specific problems and desires. Through this understanding, business owners and decision-makers can develop and refine products and services that solve problems and delight customers.

For example, with a big data analytics system, you can receive alerts every time your company, products, or services are mentioned on social media. You can aggregate and study all social media mentions to find out how your customers are reacting to your business.

Are they happy with your customer service approach?

Are they asking for new features or products?

Can you fill a niche or need your competitors are missing?

What is the sentiment around the third-party brands and products your company is affiliated with?

Assess Risk Factors

Risk analysis and mitigation is another area where big data analysis can help decision-makers drive their business toward growth and success. Cloud-based analytics can be a powerful tool for risk analysis for two key reasons:

  1. In the Cloud, you have access to large data pools. For example, you can gather customer and market data about behavior, shared traits, vendors, competitors, other factors, industry-specific trends, political or weather events, and seasonal trends. In other words, you can collect data about anything that could affect your business and sales.
  2. The Cloud has the space, power, and performance you need to crunch big data sets. Before the Cloud, you would have needed to build a high-performance data center to get the data insights available today. All you need is an internet connection.

Improve Operations

Another key to profitability is to streamline operations. Big data analytics can help you uncover trouble spots in your operations. You can examine all parts of your operation from marketing and sales, to operations and vendor relationships.

Through data analysis, you can optimize every part of your business.

- Product and service design and development

- Marketing, sales, and account management

- Manufacturing, supplies, and logistics

Along with the inefficiencies, gaps, and issues, you'll also discover new opportunities, holes, niches and innovations.

The Cloud offers affordable solutions for several SMB challenges, including the top 3 business challenges:

- IT skill gaps

- Security

- Keeping pace with technology

Perhaps, the greatest benefit of the Cloud is that it makes the same tools and capabilities (big data analytics, security systems, and IT expertise) used by enterprises available to SMBs. The Cloud levels the playing field and allows companies of all sizes to compete on metrics, like customer service and product quality.

Find out more about SMBs' shift toward Cloud computing. Read our whitepaper, The Steps to Ensure a Successful Cloud Migration.