For small and midsize companies, intense pressure comes in a variety of forms. Volatile supply-chain costs, tightening talent pools, shifting consumer expectations, evolving workforce needs, and competition from industry giants and garage startups – all of these realities are making it impossible to create sustainable business strategies based on intuition alone.
Fortunately, growing companies, even those with modest budgets, are beginning to leverage data-driven insights. According to the Forrester Consulting study, “How To Become An Insights-Driven Business: A Guide For Mid-Sized Companies,” commissioned by SAP, nearly half of surveyed small and midsize firms are addressing their data and insights challenges with digital technology.
This finding from Forrester clearly signals competitive progress for smaller businesses. But what’s more impressive is how the rising interest and use of digital data management tools and analytics are fueling the undercurrent of a more-significant breakthrough opportunity – the intelligent enterprise mindset.
Figure: Small and midsize companies embrace digital capabilities to advance data-driven insights.
Intelligent enterprise: Where enterprise means big in potential, not business size
The term “intelligent enterprise” may seem like another buzzword that completely leaves out the small and midsize businesses segment. For generations, we have been conditioned to associate the word “enterprise” with large companies that have thousands of employees and generate billions in revenue.
However, as mass digitalization of marketplaces is enabling small and midsize businesses to compete directly with industry titans, the definition of “enterprise” is changing. As indicated earlier, growing companies are embracing knowledge management tactics to harness intellectual capital. They are driving sustainable competitive advantage as quickly as they are converting data into insights that position them well for widespread market acceptance.
By leveraging this source of creativity and innovation, small and midsize companies can nourish and sustain the business strategy. More importantly, they embody a critical aspect of the intelligent enterprise – decision-making that disrupts and delivers ground-breaking growth and innovation.
Luckily, such capabilities are easily attainable for even the smallest of companies. The Forrester Consulting survey reported that a decentralized system where employees look up whatever information they want should be supplemented with shared awareness of a set of core numbers or data points that everyone can use. With this approach, businesses can make insights more contextual and actionable by embedding analytics within transactional applications and processes.
For example, one of the most affordable and latest digital innovations runs data warehousing in the cloud alongside in-memory computing capabilities. This approach allows small and midsize companies to link analytics tightly to process semantics and logic, leading to reduced cost, mitigated risks, and highly reliable insights that provide a deeper understanding of the business in real time. Advanced analytics such as natural language processing, chatbots, artificial intelligence, and machine learning open up an accessible, yet secure, entry point for asking questions and getting rewarded with rich, instant, and contextual insight on any device.
The verdict is in: Even the smallest businesses can become intelligent enterprises
To stay competitive, businesses of all sizes need to drive strategic initiatives on more than just instinct and hunches. There’s just no other way around it: data-driven insights are what sets the foundation for comprehensive tactical and strategic operations.
As your competitors catch up in their adoption of next-generation digital innovation, the bar of differentiating excellence moves higher. If you ever want to move with them or surpass them, you need to tap into the digital capabilities that can transform your business into an intelligent enterprise.
Find out how your small or midsize business can run as an intelligent enterprise to sustain growth by fully leveraging data and insights. Download the April 2018 Forrester Consulting study, “How To Become An Insights-Driven Business: A Guide For Mid-Sized Companies,” commissioned by SAP.