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Techaisle Blog

Insightful research, flexible data, and deep analysis by a global SMB IT Market Research and Industry Analyst organization dedicated to tracking the Future of SMBs and Channels.

Identifying key benefits associated with SMB Big Data initiatives

Intrinsic to positioning any IT-enabled solution is an understanding of the benefits that the customer anticipates obtaining from deployment of the technology. Buyers need to understand how the solution helps them to increase revenues, cut costs, improve efficiency or otherwise enhance shareholder value; vendors need to be able to position their offerings as a means to achieving these objectives.

While there is a close relationship between “analytics” and “Big Data” – and they are often conflated in the press – the two technologies follow somewhat different paths into SMB user environments. Techaisle research has found that analytics solutions tend to be driven by BDMs – business users looking for better ways of approaching high-priority business issues. In some cases, this requires access to vast quantities of high-velocity, variegated sources, which in turn demands a Big Data solution – but in contrast to analytics adoption, Big Data initiatives rely heavily on IT for implementation and ongoing management, and represents a solution area that requires collaboration between BDMs and ITDMs.

While SMB Big Data buyers view support for (predictive) analytics as their top acquisition driver, they also have distinct needs and preferences that suppliers must consider in building a sales and marketing strategy.

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85 percent of omni-channel SMBs are using analytics solutions

One interesting observation contained within Techaisle’s 2016 SMB & Midmarket Analytics Adoption survey results is the relationship between sales channel and analytics strategy. The survey of 1,116 US SMBs found that a higher percentage of businesses with an omni-channel approach that includes both online and offline sales channels are using analytics than those relying entirely on either online or offline sales. In fact, overall, 85% of omni-channel SMBs are using analytics and 38% are using big data solutions. On the planned side of the equation, another 46% of omni-channel SMBs are investigating use of big data technologies. Even the average spending on analytics by omni-channel SMBs is 3X that of eCommerce only SMBs and 6X of those that do not sell online.

Data illustrates that nearly 60% of SMBs (and almost three-quarters of midmarket firms) employing an omni-channel strategy are already using analytics to track website hits – a rate that is higher than for firms using ecommerce-only, and much higher than for firms that do not use online sales.

Another set of data adds context to this focus on website tracking. Omni-channel businesses tend not to be using particularly advanced approaches to analytics:

• 39% use “descriptive” analytics, and
• 30% have deployed “predictive” or “prescriptive” analytics.

However, omni-channel firms do tend to have some type of strategy – only 5% report that their use of analytics is ad hoc, vs. 13% of ecommerce-only firms and 18% of firms with no online sales.

The current analytics solution deployment & usage differs greatly from future plans within the omni-channel SMBs.  

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Analytics and Big Data in the US SMB market

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 report, Analytics and Big Data in the US SMB market, Techaisle analyzes over 1100 survey responses to provide the insight needed to build and execute on analytics and big data solution strategies for the small and midmarket customer segments. Techaisle’s deep understanding of SMB IT and business requirements enables vendors to understand the ‘why’ and ‘when’ of solution adoption, current and planned approaches to solution use, the benefits that drive user investments, and key issues in aligning with buyers and building and intercepting demand.

Highlights of data presented in this report include:

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We are tech companies and tech means cloud which means new business models

We believe that we are all tech companies. Obviously companies like Dell with hardware or Microsoft with software or Cisco with networking products or IBM with services or Salesforce with cloud software or even Apple with consumer electronics are recognized as tech companies that are relevant to the businesses that operate around the world. But this is not the extent of the tech industry.

We may or may not recognize financial institutions as being technology companies but the financial institutions themselves recognize that technology shapes their competitive environment. A recent memo from a senior executive at one of those financial institutions identified not their traditional competitors but Apple Pay as a significant source of future competition.

Automotive industry companies like GM, Ford, and Mercedes are also technology companies. We all recognize Tesla as a technology company because in essence its product is technology with electronics and electric engines. In the 1970s, metal was the single highest value component of a vehicle. In the 80s and 90s, computer hardware became the most valuable component of a vehicle, and today software is the highest value component in a new vehicle. A new vehicle purchased today contains often as much as 100 million lines of software code. For comparison's sake, the Android operating system contains about 15 million lines and Facebook has about 62 million lines of code. So a late model car is equivalent from a coding perspective to Facebook plus Android plus Android again plus a little bit more Android.

The taxi industry, represented by cabs in New York City and Toronto and Mexico City and a tuk tuk from Thailand, has been greatly disrupted by Uber which owns no cars but provides ride services around the world.

This huge opportunity for the creation of new wealth by disrupting existing industries with technology is driving quite a lot of tech innovation throughout the economy. As analyst David Moschella observed in a post entitled 'Dual Disruptions', a firm can be seen by the technology industry either as a valued customer or potential lunch for this Uberfication style of disruption.

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