Techaisle’s latest US, Asia/Pacific, Europe and Latin America SMB and Midmarket Analytics and Artificial Intelligence adoption trends survey research shows that although 73% of midmarket firms (100-999 employees) and 10% of small businesses (1-99 employees) are using analytics (weighted data), only 6% of small businesses and 27% of midmarket firms are highly data-driven, that is, they have an evidence-driven culture, in which data helps defines requirements or opportunities thus enabling SMB executives to determine the best option for moving forward. Majority of SMB, 54%, are rarely data-driven and rely primarily on the insights and expertise of the senior management. Nevertheless, within the next one year, 23% of small businesses plan to adopt analytical solutions beyond spreadsheets and overall 30% of small businesses plan to engage with an external professional services firms to understand how they could provide assistance to deploy advanced analytics solutions. Cloud-based analytics is being used by 57% of midmarket firms and as compared to only 14% of small business but the intent to use within small businesses is significantly high at 48%.

Within 31% of midmarket firms, IT is being challenged with demand for increased analytics. As a result, overall 35% of midmarket firms are planning to engage with professional services firms to help develop and prepare data management systems, techniques and technology.

The whole product for analytics starts with cloud. 37% of SMBs consider cloud to be an essential analytics technology but when drilled down into midmarket firms, data reveals that 30% of midmarket firms believe that large scale local storage and fast processing infrastructure is necessary for deep analytics implementation.

The top two reasons for SMB (1-999 employees) investments in analytics solutions are increased productivity and improved processes but several other important investment rationales connect to revenue: optimization of current revenue streams, supporting the search for new revenues, analyzing customer churn, providing sales transaction and customer profiling. This is because, regardless of the issue, analytics provides an answer. SMBs are prioritizing a wide range of improved outcomes within their businesses: improvement within existing operations and processes, expansion of the customer base, profitability and the business as a whole, creation and accelerated delivery of new offerings, reduced cost, and enhanced ability to manage the unknown.

An important step in defining the whole product for the SMB and midmarket opportunity is understanding the buyer’s needs – and the first step in that process is identifying the buyer. Purchase authority for analytics can reside in many different departments within the SMB. Data from Techaisle survey shows that different voices dominate current and future analytics discussions. Today, in the midmarket, where most analytics investment is currently occurring, finance and sales are the leading sources of funding of analytics activity. When looking to the future potential of the small business market, though, the buyer profile changes: here, sales and marketing will be funding analytics initiatives.

In today’s SMB market, it is critical for vendors to build detailed understanding of the small and midmarket segments, and to align resources and strategies with requirements as SMBs move from initial experimentation with sophisticated solutions towards mass-market adoption. In the enterprise IT market, this requires IT vendors to devote resources for deep account management strategies. But what of the vast SMB market, where it is impossible for vendor sales and marketing resources to tailor approaches to individual account needs? Here, it is critical for vendors to build detailed understanding of the small and midmarket segments, and to align resources and strategies with market requirements as the market itself moves from initial experimentation through mass-market adoption.