According to the most recent census data, firms employing fewer than 100 people constitute 98% of the nearly 6 million companies in the U.S. Moreover, these small companies employ more than 42 million Americans.
Often referred to as “Mom and Pop Shops,” these companies face the same kinds of challenges as larger enterprises, albeit on a far smaller scale. They need to maintain and grow their customer bases, reduce waste and drive more process efficiency, and boost brand visibility and increase their market presence.
Companies large and small gravitate toward business analytics as a tool to help bridge the gap and satisfy those needs. For starters, small companies look to shore up their data and find better ways of sharing critical information across business functions.
Prior Aberdeen Group research demonstrated the top three analytical strategies for these small firms:
- Identify key data sources required for analysis – (41% of respondents)
- Enable decision-makers to be more self-sufficient with analytical capabilities – (37% of respondents)
- Improve cross-department collaboration by breaking down information silos – (30% of respondents)
This three-pronged strategy makes analytics more accessible and pervasive throughout the organization. Small firms typically have a number of employees wearing multiple hats, and taking on a variety of different responsibilities. These are the very users that can exploit the potential of analytics and spread its value to other areas of the company. Small companies have inherently less complexity in their data environments, which enables them to prioritize which data sources matter the most.
Because of the multi-faceted nature of many of the employees, they can transfer knowledge more effectively and empower a greater degree of self-sufficiency with analytics. Ultimately, this leads to more widespread analytical usage in more functional areas:
Spreading Analytics Across the Community
The data here implies a few important distinctions. On the surface, it may seem silly to compare small, medium, and large organizations side by side against this measure. After all, in small companies, it may well be the same person applying analytical activity to more than one functional area.
However, the ideals of analytical pervasiveness still hold true at this level. One analytical rock star in a small business can be effective as a SWAT team of data scientists at a large enterprise. The notion of transforming data into insight is repeatable and transferable at any-sized company, as are the results from effective analytics.
Building an Analytical Mindset in Small Companies
Regardless of company size, Aberdeen’s research shows that a well-executed strategy for business analytics can create very compelling performance improvements. For small companies, the order of the day is far less about earmarking funds for technology investment, and more about working to build a widespread analytical mindset and decision culture.
This type of culture that truly values data-driven insights as an indispensable part of decision process is, more often than not, what leads to measurable and repeatable performance improvements.
For more information, explore the full report here, available 100% free of charge for registered Aberdeen community members: BI Excels in the Mid-Market: A Nimbler Version of the Enterprise.