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'Digitization of Data is a must'

Feb 16, 2013 1:03:00 PM

Business Intelligence tools can help an SME analyse data coming from social media and thus grab market share from competitors. - Sandeep Arora, Global Head of Research and Analytics, Datamatics Global Services Limited

Mumbai, February 16, 2016: Indians are increasingly using their mobile phones to do things more than just making and receiving calls and SMSes. Surfing the web and most of all, getting connected through social media portals like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, etc. are afew examples.

According to Google, India has close to 120 mn internet users, of which mobile users account for nearly 35%. Only 10% of Indian population is connected to the internet and therefore the growth potential for the next three-four years in huge. One click to your Facebook homepage will let you know what your friends are talking about, their likes and dislikes, their views and reviews and this is precisely the information which will be of use not only to the people who intend to spend but more so, for the ones who are willing to sell. This is where SMEs are today leveraging the social media and internet – for business intelligence.

Small and medium enterprises have been instrumental in channeling the entrepreneurial aspirations of individuals towards addressing consumption opportunities in a community. The trends are visible – the smaller companies – traditionally mom and pop stores or even the youth-oriented lifestyle businesses are paving the way for niche or targeted marketing, made possible by increasing awareness and data gathered on consumption pattern/ tastes/ preferences of their target consumer segments.

The smartphones and tablets are now dotting this revolution with adequate support from connectivity. This has enabled greater collaboration and capture of user preferences in shorter time. The SMEs have started commanding presence in the social media space. The Search engine optimization is often the most important aspect of a digital plan and Indian SMEs are increasingly demanding to be visible to their potential customers upon entering specific keywords. Websites are increasingly being maintained and updated and at the same time, customer feedback is being finally replied to or resolved using social media platforms.

Visual channels like Youtube and Pinterest are being resorted to establish improved customer connect. Analytical tools are increasingly being adopted to capture the feedback and demand patterns in existing as well as potential markets for the SMEs. In other words, today, a company’s fortune is decided by its ability to improve everyday business operations by making rapid, high-quality decisions based on current, relevant and accurate information. A business’ performance that is layered with accurate Business Intelligence tools can help grab a major chunk of market share from its competitors. In doing so, companies like us are making the BI solutions more customized and affordable for mass usage. Physical infrastructure is being replaced with cloud.

Operational intelligence is being married with greater analytics to facilitate better decision-making and moreover, the findings are being communicated in customized formats, for greater understanding for non-technical people. Relatively new technology in in-memory analytics is also enabling SMEs to run what-if scenarios, while putting large data sets into the hands of users in a easily manageable and navigable manner. However, this is just a beginning and I would like to call it nascent.

The challenges continue to persist. Being a nascent domain, the technology and tools are not widely available to the SMEs, especially at competitive prices. The lack of opportunities to indulge in or address consumers in a one-to-one format is also leading to a confused digital strategy for most SMEs. For a process to offer valuable and relevant feedback, it is impetrative for the process to be simple and effective. Last, the SMEs must initiate the digitization of their data, which is essential to ensure that they no longer remain SMEs and are able to expand their scale. 

 

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