When It Comes To Data, Small Businesses Should Think Big

Wednesday, May 09, 2012 by The eFax Team

Small and medium-sized businesses in the United States are increasingly recognizing that business intelligence and big data analytics may be the keys to gaining a competitive advantage over rival firms.

Big data analytics is the process of examining large amounts of a variety of different types of data to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations and other useful information.

According to a new study by Techaisle, roughly 12 percent of small businesses and 34 percent of midsize firms are currently using big data analytics, but that number is expected to grow quickly through 2012.

The primary goal of big data analytics is to enable companies to make better business decisions through critical data that may not be captured by conventional business intelligence processes.

Techaisle noted that 40 percent of medium-sized businesses are interested in predictive analytics, a process that relies on modeling to predict what a customer may do, or want to do based on related bits of data.

For example, predictive analytics could educate a business that consumers may be more interested in receiving a telephone call or a fax, rather than a text message or a pdf scanned and attached to an email. Big data analytics will allow companies to better know customers' preferences, likely leading to higher customer retention and increased profitability.

A lack of internal expertise, however, is the major inhibitor to big data analytics and business intelligence adoption among SMBs. Still, companies will continue to look for partners to help navigate through big data issues and continue to invest in the technologies, the study said.

According to IDC, the global market for big data technology and services is expected to increase from $3.4 billion in 2010 to nearly $17 billion in 2015, expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 40 percent.

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