Mid-Market Outlook: Putting Data Analytics to Work for You
Mid-market perspectives blog: Growth enterprise services
Posted by Tom McGee on October 10, 2012
Big companies have used data analytics to manage performance and make smarter decisions for years. But the emergence of cloud technology is changing the business landscape. The cloud, and software as a service, leads to the democratization of technology and can put mid-market companies on a more level playing field with larger companies who spend millions on IT departments, equipment and software. Using information to grow their organizations – identifying ways to innovate and better meet market demand (the fundamental purpose of any business).
Our 2012 report on America's economic engine showed that mid-market CFOs and other senior executives view data analytics and automation of business processes as their top investment priorities, alongside cloud computing and software as a service. These technologies can help mid-market companies gain a better understanding of their customers, operations, and overall business — and compete with larger companies in a cost-effective manner.
Data analytics can be related to everything from energy usage in manufacturing facilities to customer preferences and enhancing the overall customer experience, to better managing the supply chain and logistics. Analytics can create a nerve center of information to make business decisions and resource allocations, and with the advent of the cloud, it can be affordable and cost-effective for mid-market companies.
Harvesting high-value customers was an important priority that we uncovered in another report last fall, Mid-market perspectives: America's economic engine - competing in uncertain times. There is a sense that companies have not completely mined their existing customers, which in some respects should be easier than acquiring new customers. Data analytics plays a critical role in this. From a business standpoint, this is a megatrend – one which I have heard compared to the advent of the PC and the development of the Internet in terms of changing the way business is conducted.
Case studies in our recent report, Leveling the playing field, demonstrate how mid-market companies are effectively leveraging the power of data analytics. While it’s true that “big data” can complicate big decisions, it can also drive big decisions. Harnessing the insights that data analytics provides gives leaders the ability to maintain the strategic direction of their businesses, while using deeper insights on customers and operations to gain a competitive edge.
The fact that the information can change so quickly can be a challenge, but a plan with built-in flexibility will allow leadership to take advantage of small shifts in the marketplace to improve operating models in response to fast-emerging trends.