How New Technologies Make Business Analytics Possible for SMBs
One way or another, business analytics has been an inseparable part of business since its earliest days. It is not that difficult to imagine a caveman realizing that his sabretooth tiger pelt is worth more during winter months and that he might get more in return by waiting for the first snow before he trades it for a new axe or something like that.
As millennia went by, business analytics grew in complexity through introduction of statistics and a number of other scientific fields that turned it into something only the professionals can truly master. In the 20th century, the field became even more vast and complex thanks to the introduction of computers and especially the internet which increased the amount of data to be analyzed to an unimaginable extent.
The Prerogative of the Big Players
Because of a then unique situation where the amount of data to be given the business analytics treatment was immense and the tools were too complex for anyone who was not a professional analyst, business analytics was, for quite some time, the prerogative of only the biggest corporations.
They had entire business analysis teams and departments which were equipped not only with the best analysts in the world, but also with the latest technologies that required entire rooms to store and entire generators to power.
Small-to-medium businesses had no place there. They still had to rely on their hunch and some basic observation skills to try and make the best decisions for their budding company.
The Change in the Scenery
As computer technology started getting smaller, more powerful and cheaper, certain individuals and companies started thinking about bringing business analytics to the masses. Computer technology also made business analytics far more advanced, especially with the introduction of multidimensional databases, online analytical processing and so on.
Microsoft brought OLAP into the mainstream in the late 1990s, after purchasing their tech from a BI software company called Panorama and naming it Microsoft Analysis Services. As more and more companies got involved, the field exploded and the most impactful result of this has been a certain “democratization” of business analytics.
The Democratization of Business Analytics
In the period starting with the late 1990s and ending at the moment you are reading this article, the field of computer business analytics has undergone an incredible change and it has made various business analytics tools better suited to SMB owners and their needs.
For one, the advancements in the technology have made these tools more affordable, meaning that they can nowadays be afforded by small business owners with limited means. Furthermore, these tools have become less technical in nature, especially thanks to visualization methods that make the analysis results more understandable to people who know little to nothing about business analysis.
What Business Analytics does for SMBs?
It goes without saying that the fact SMB owners can now use advanced business analytics tools is a positive one. The main reason is that with business analytics, SMB owners are now finally able to do all those little (and not so little) things that can help them run their business more efficiently and successfully.
For one, they can get a better insight into how their customers make decisions and whether they can influence those decisions in some way. Business analytics also makes it possible for SMBs to discover areas where they are perhaps spending more money than they should and also where they might want to inject more funds. Business analytics can influence marketing decisions, the way in which SMBs do HR and so much more.
Of course, large corporations still have access to more advanced business analytics solutions and thanks to the near-unlimited means that they operate with, they most probably always will. That being said, SMBs have definitely entered the building and they are making their claim on at least a part of the business analytics benefits.
And that is a great thing.
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