The last decade has seen large companies in all industries adopting big data. It’s being used to improve research and development, connect with consumers, increase profitability, and more. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), on the other hand, are slow adopters of big data, resulting in them failing to reap the benefits of incorporating big data analytics into their business strategies. This threatens to see SMEs fall behind.
SMEs make up an essential part of the economy in Europe; therefore, SME owners must recognize that, like large companies, they too can benefit from adopting big data.
Big data is rapidly transforming every industry worldwide. But for SMEs, it can be unclear how big data is relevant, or even beneficial to them. Recent statistics from the Georgia Small Business Development Center (SBDC) reveal that SMEs who leverage big data reap 15% more sales in comparison to those that don’t. This figure illustrates the real power of embracing technology.
A lack of clarity of the benefits that new technology brings acts as a significant barrier to incorporating it. Therefore, we have outlined the major benefits that SMEs can expect to enjoy through the adoption of big data.
Security and privacy
Security and privacy is one area that benefits from the use of big data. Statistics have shown that as the volume of goods sold via mobile channels has increased in recent years, so has the rate of fraud. Big data can be used alongside artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to help businesses protect consumers from breaches in security.
Hackers have been increasingly infiltrating as consumers share their data online to make purchases. Such an attack threatens both financial and reputation damage to SMEs. Big data can be leveraged to increase the protection and secure sharing of sensitive information. Emerging technologies such as natural language processing, speech recognition, video recognition, and automation are valuable tools that utilize big data to help protect the reputation of SMEs.
Connecting with consumers
Understanding customers is key to being able to connect with them, and it is this connection that facilitates sales. People are more likely to purchase from brands they feel connected to. Big data can be used to predict the needs of specific consumer groups; it also helps to help businesses gain an understanding of who their consumers are. Both of these factors help SMEs to micro-target people, connecting with those most likely to buy at a specific time. Using big data to know a consumer on a more personal level can help convert sales, from recommending more relevant products, to contacting them during periods when they are most likely to buy.
Customer service is a critical factor in customer retention. Big data is being leveraged by chatbots to provide enhanced, personalized, rapid, and efficient customer service. These chatbots take the strain off SMEs who may not have enough staff or the budget to answer queries promptly. Chatbots can respond intuitively to customers, providing a high level of customer service that is important in encouraging a one time buyer to convert into a loyal customer.
Talent acquisition can enhance the productivity, value, and, ultimately, profitability of a company. Where HR professionals may previously have spent hours looking through CVs to find suitable candidates, personnel data analytics can streamline this process and create shortlists based on a method of matching keywords.
Also, it should be noted that recent years have seen more big data analytics solutions becoming freely available. This has had the impact of bringing down the costs, and changes to the infrastructure are needed to support the technology, making it accessible to all businesses, regardless of size.
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