Nowadays, a large amount of information must be managed in companies, both internally generated and in the environment where they are immersed. That is why managers are looking for alternatives that allow them to manage the large amount of data they have in their company and thus be able to define a better direction for their business. Although many know that their data, when used correctly, can help make their business more efficient and more profitable, most have trouble finding a way to simplify data management and thus positively impact decision-making.
The current state of business analytics solutions for midsize companies indicates that businesses recognize the need for greater visibility into the data they already have, or that they need to present it in a simple and easy-to-understand way, and most midsize companies want to use these tools if they can find an effective and easy way to do so.
The perception of business analytics solutions is complicated by the fact that managers may perform business analytics activities as part of their job without realizing it. Some companies, for example, claim that these solutions perform a business intelligence function, while almost 20% say they have no idea how to take advantage of analytics solutions.
Almost all companies perform analytical activities in one form or another, even if they don't call them that. In most cases, companies collect metrics that they use for analysis. Companies either collect a wide variety of data and analyze it themselves, or they delegate this function to someone else. Some collect more limited data sets, such as sales or product information. This analysis is usually done manually and with the help of tools such as spreadsheets.
The value of data
Small businesses say they know the benefits of business analytics solutions, but that they are too expensive for a company like theirs, and that their company is too small to implement solutions designed for large organizations. Midsize companies try to analyze their business performance as best they can and with the tools, they already have, often in a slow, inefficient, and labor-intensive way for their employees. They often use these methods because they know they must find a way to understand their operations, but don't know how to do it or don't know how to present the data in a useful way.
The biggest problem is perception: many companies believe that analytical solutions are difficult to implement and expensive, although the reality is quite different. Implementing such a solution does not have to be a large-scale, costly project. Today there are business analytics solutions that are designed for the needs of growing companies, as they can be implemented at low cost and in a very short period.
For example, a company that implements analytics solutions will be able to recover the cost of inventory that is missing from its records. It can also get rid of obsolete inventory and concentrate it on higher-demand items. Using analytics for your inventory control and mailing list purging can generate a return on investment in less than six months.
Another option is through real-time business analytics solutions. Users of this tool are running real-time simulations to establish the profitability levels of their projects and improve margins for each of them, using granular data on revenues and costs. Another company that provides information technology services to transportation companies may choose to use the software to search through millions of traffic records in just one second and enable cab companies to route and dispatch vehicles more efficiently and in real-time.
Importantly, whatever solution is implemented, it must be able to handle data from third-party applications within the company and the IT systems of its business partners.
The need to implement business analytics solutions in midsize companies is real and is recognized by most company managers. Perhaps most telling is that most of these companies use business analytics even when they say they do not. While this highlights a perception gap about what business analytics solutions are and what they do, it does not diminish the clear demand for the product and the proper approach to it.
Most companies use spreadsheets (such as Excel) to help understand their operations and largely recognize that this approach is only partially effective. In addition to this difficulty, midsize companies know that they do not have the resources to implement the business analytics solutions that work for a large enterprise, but do not realize that there are solutions designed for smaller companies that can be adopted with minimal resources and at an affordable price.