Analytics has become imperative in the business world. Until recently, large corporations were the main force in utilizing big data and analytics to enhance efficiency, effectiveness, and profitability.
The shift in favor of small businesses has been brought about by advances in technology, increased storage capacity, lower pricing, and a broad range of flexible deployment models.
From financial performance to strategy management, these advanced, data-driven solutions have long streamlined the decision-making process for larger companies.
But what does all of this mean for IT departments in smaller market companies?
Not All Peaches and Cream
One of the biggest challenges facing IT departments is the fact that accessing data has become more complicated than ever.
Just ask any company that has embraced this whole big data thing. According to IBM, we are creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data on a daily basis, with 90% of the current total being produced within the last two years alone.
With information coming in from email marketing programs, social media initiatives, and everything in between, data must be collected, accessed and processed using an assortment of protocols, which makes leveraging this information more difficult than it should be.
Communication is another challenge coming into play. While IT administrators and personnel may have a strong command over information, the increasing complexity of analytics and business intelligence data can be very obscure and intimidating to colleagues in neighboring departments.
This in turn, can make communication and the interpretation of data difficult for the entire organization. Because information infrastructures have grown to be so complicated, handling data is no longer a task merely suited for IT specialists.
That’s why there is now so much focus on what the analytics industry calls “data scientists”, who excel at managing these enormous piles of structured and unstructured information.
A true business analytics infrastructure calls for huge amounts of data to be complied, processed, and put into action. Not only have these factors added all new degrees of difficulty to management, but having somewhere to store all that data as well. The more information a company collects, the more strain it puts on local hard disks and traditional storage devices alike.
Fortunately, as technology evolves, organizations are coming to discover that they can rely on advances such as the cloud to accommodate data storage needs. With the ability to only pay for what you need, this deployment model is like a godsend for budget-conscience small businesses.
Plenty to Smile About
The picture I just painted may appear bleak for the strained IT department, but when it comes to marketing analytics, the perks far outweigh the challenges.
At the enterprise level, analytics helps small companies be more competitive while allowing them to make faster and better information-based decisions.
The data collected can help organizations streamline their resources and boost productivity, which paves the way for an improved bottom line and increase in revenue.
Most importantly, analytics gives these companies the potential to gain an advantage over competition by responding to critical data as soon as it comes in based on real-time insights.
Whether it focuses on web traffic, video content, or social media, marketing analytics requires a committed shift in IT focus. It needs to move IT professionals into project teams with colleagues from marketing, customer service, and other departments, with the unified goal of mining and managing all the data that has been collected in integrated fashion.
As a result, the organization can broaden its horizons and empower employees to bring fresh perspectives to each project.
Get Your Data in Check
Every small business should have a handy analytics solution in their toolkit. No matter your industry and what you do, you’re sure to have a significant amount of digital information on your hands.
The data you gather and analyze has the potential to literally transform business processes and substantially increase profitability.
As in any new process or program adoption, there will be both perks and challenges, but it is necessary to keep up with a rapidly advancing business world. If you do not, you will surely be left behind in the dust of your competitors.
Has your small business deployed a marketing analytics solution? What have been some of the specific benefits you’ve noticed? What about the challenges? Share your experiences in a comment.