Democrats & Republicans can’t agree on anything these days. However, one thing both political parties agree on is that small businesses fuel the America’s economy. The power of small business is not only felt in the United States, but around the world.
To continue our slow climb out of “The Great Recession,” small businesses will need to expand their customer base & hire more employees. How can small businesses realize their big dreams? Simple, utilizing all of today’s technology by harnessing the power of “Big Data.”
A new study “Inside The Midmarket: A 2011 Perspective” reports more than 2,000 small-to-midsize companies (representing 20 countries) plan to expand their IT budgets over the next 12-to-18 months. This study was commissioned by IBM & independently conducted by KS&R, Inc.
In 2009, 53% of small-to-midsize companies were only concerned with reducing costs & increasing efficiencies.
With greater confidence about their economic futures in 2011, small-to-midsize companies stated their most critical business priorities:
- 76% Still Want Cost Reduction & Improved Efficiency
- 73% Want Improved Customer Services
- 70% Want Increased Employee Productivity
- 67% Seek New Ways To Reach Customers
- 62% Want To Optimize Key Business Processes
- 62% Seek Increased Insights For Better Decision Making
- 60% Need To Create Increase Flexibility & Nimble Enterprise
- 58% Need To Create Greater Collaboration To Drive Innovation
Advanced analytics software used to be only for big businesses. Small businesses now use analytics to collect, aggregate & transform data into useful information to make smarter decisions. More useful information helps small businesses create a better brand image.
The technologies are diverse, but consumers use these diverse technologies to create a single image about your brand. Your website, customer service & social media identity have to be on a single positive page. Create a positive, multichannel brand experience & your customer’s word-of-mouth will be better than a billion dollar ad campaign.
Properly translated analytic data gives your small business a fighting chance. That information can advise the best time to hire, where to advertise for the highest ROI or the best time to sell products. Advanced analytics software can see patterns, anticipate changes & extract value from data.
Leslie Weber, Chief Information Officer of Bass Pro Shops, stated “IBM analytics allowed us to quickly get information across our multiple channels & lines of business in one place to deliver meaningful analytics that drive top line & bottom line results….We can now create & deliver more targeted promotions, circulars & catalogs to create a better shopping experience.”
In a President&CEO podcast interview, Mr. Monshaw spoke about small businesses embracing cloud technology. Small businesses must decide whether to use a consumer or commercial cloud vendor. Consumer vendors are great for saving pictures or music, but don’t offer the security of commercial vendors. Just like in the sky, all clouds in cyberspace are not created equal.
Democrats & Republicans won’t sing “We Are The World” in 2012, but the world’s small businesses will certainly be singing a happier tune.