The Truth About Data And Digital Transformation Every Small And Midsize Business Should Know

Alison Biggan

Part 3 of the “Thriving in the Digital Economy” series 

Every part of our lives creates data. Think about the fact that Google alone gets 40,000 queries per second. That’s 3.5 million searches per day or 1.2 trillion per year! With the staggering amount of information available, every company – regardless of size – stands to benefit. However, a recently released IDC global study, “Thriving in the Digital Economy: How small and midsize enterprises are adapting to digital transformation,” sponsored by SAP, revealed that not all small and midsize businesses are taking advantage of the data available and the insights they can derive and act on.

When asked how the proliferation of data volume, types, and sources has changed the way they operate:

  • 41.6% are using real-time reporting for instant updates of current activities
  • 48.7% are supporting data-driven decision making

According to the study, there’s a widespread perception that enterprise-grade, digital technology is just for big companies. Yet, this couldn’t be further from the truth: More than ever, technology is within every business’ reach.

Investing in technology to unlock the power of your data isn’t just for large businesses – it’s a necessity for every company

Successful companies are looking forward and predicting the future in a more agile, rapid way. Consider companies like Uber, Netflix, and Airbnb. A few years ago, they were just starting out – yet they managed to quickly disrupt their respective industries. What’s one of their secrets? Innovative use of their data is one way to be disruptive. They also leveraged their insights and learnings to introduce new technologies and platforms that transformed how customers experience their services and perceive their value.

The benefit that can be gained by using a modern platform – from database to data management and analytics to predictive, all underpinned on a foundation of trusted data – cannot be understated. In fact, the survey uncovered a strong association between companies who are actively leveraging business intelligence, forecasting, and analysis tools and those having annual revenue growth of 10% or more.

No matter how you view your data, the fact is that digital transformation is forcing all companies – large,  small, and in between – to be more predictive and take advantage of opportunities that seem to emerge from all directions. Otherwise, you run the risk of being disrupted not only by your traditional competitors, but by a newcomer you didn’t even see coming that surpasses your business without warning.

A digital platform brings quick, impactful wins without disrupting operations

Source systems and data volumes for small and midsize businesses are distinctly different than for their larger competitors. However, a new crop of digital technology has dramatically reduced the budget, time, and space needed to store and manage data, while accelerating and simplifying data exploration.

For example, investment in cloud solutions is a highly beneficial option for accessing expert business intelligence without accruing unmanageable costs. By taking tool installation out of the equation, the infrastructure is already there. The key is finding a cloud provider that offers a customizable platform and standby professional services to guide your path to digital transformation.

Your success in the digital economy depends on your relationship with data

In today’s global business world, an end-to-end, digital platform is not a “nice to have” – it’s about survival. Businesses that understand the economic imperatives, act quickly to determine their options, and take decisive action will be better prepared to meet the demands of the digital economy.

Companies can start small and scale up, expand services and geography, and build on capabilities powered by the technology. Decision makers can pinpoint low-risk opportunities that yield quick improvements. And because trends, performance, and market changes can be viewed every day in real-time, there is more freedom to try new things, change direction quickly, and become the disruptor in your industry.

Get ready to embrace everything the digital economy has to offer. Check out our blog series “Thriving in the Digital Economy” and the IDC study, co-sponsored by SAP, “Thriving in the Digital Economy: How small and midsize enterprises are adapting to digital transformation.”


Alison Biggan

About Alison Biggan

Alison Biggan is the chief product marketing officer at SAP. In this role, Alison leads the team responsible for product and solution marketing across all topics and technologies. This includes product launches and campaigns; product communications, core product messaging, and competitive differentiation; as well as go-to-market strategy. Alison and her team enable people and organizations on their path to becoming intelligent enterprises with modern technology delivered through simple and powerful tools that help them drive more and greater innovation. Alison joined SAP in 2007 through its acquisition of Business Objects, and has held global leadership roles in the platform business since 2010, including playing an instrumental role in the introduction and growth of SAP HANA. She began her career in sports marketing and sponsorship sales with the Vancouver Canuck Foundation and PGA Tour. Moving to the high-tech industry, Alison joined Crystal Decisions in 2001. The company was later acquired by Business Objects in 2003. She has held a variety of senior marketing, solution management, and go-to-market roles with SAP, Business Objects, Sophos, and Crystal Decisions. Alison attended the University of British Columbia and continues to live in Vancouver, Canada with her husband and two children.