Turning to the cloud as a foundation to support an organisation is nothing new. For a long time now, IT teams have been moving different applications and services out of their organisation and into external infrastructures. We’ve seen this play out in different technology sectors at different rates of adoption. For example, classic “enterprise applications” to support ERP, CRM and HR are almost exclusively cloud-based now. One of the tremendous advantages of this evolution is that now smaller businesses can access and leverage the same “enterprise” applications as much larger firms. In short, the cloud is helping the small guy compete more effectively with the big guy. The cloud offers an agility, scalability and flexibility that goes hand-in-hand with the ambition to take a business to the next stage, whether that’s simply to support a growing infrastructure or to give employees cost-effective access to the tools that will help them be as innovative as they need to be to succeed.
At the same time, we’re seeing a lot of small business doing great things with business analytics. With Qlik Sense, Italian furniture company LAGO can understand the future needs of customers, and creates products based on actual market demand. Management’s decision-making is supported at a strategic level, and the entire supply chain can be displayed on an easy-to-understand dashboard, which sales and marketing teams are able to access on any mobile device.
Meanwhile, Hyphen, a fast-growing UK SME, uses data analytics to deliver performance marketing intelligence and consultancy to global brand marketers. Hyphen clients, such as Hailo, rely on its insights to understand their performance across different geographies and devices. Hyphen is then able to help clients increase traffic to their applications and lift their clients’ businesses to the stage where they are able to grow their user base organically.
Or, last and by no means least, home improvement business Modernize used analytics to give all employees a better insight into its financials, make data-backed account management decisions and target prospects more effectively with strategic email marketing. As a result, it went very quickly from its humble origins as a one-man band to a $100 million company.
So, we know analytics works for innovative SMBs – and we know that the cloud is an outlet for SMBs on the precipice of growth. Just imagine the opportunity when you place the two together.
The strength of analytics in the cloud, with its capacity to be more lightweight, powerful and accessible, makes the amalgamation the perfect solution for helping small businesses innovate further. If small businesses have held back from fully-powered data analytics solutions until this point, it’s often due to fears over the cost of running a solution large enough to process the amounts of data required to get tangible insights. That’s why the cloud can be the answer. Rather than having to pull together and store the data required to gain business-changing insights themselves (something many small businesses just can’t afford, or don’t have the staff resource internally to do), they can have access to the same levels of data and powerful analytics as their larger counterparts. Furthermore, they only pay for what they use, as they use it, which can be a big financial benefit. Once again, they can more effectively compete with the big guy.
The bottom line is that analytics and the cloud – or, rather, analytics in the cloud – is yet again transforming business as we know it, and creating even more opportunity. Who says the “big get bigger” has to be the rule? We live in an era when everyone can reach for the cloud and start getting insights from even more data to move to the next level.