Looking at the Value Proposition of Leveraging Information Assets

February 13, 2014
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ImageSometimes SMBs get stuck trying to identify the value proposition of investing in more robust reporting or analytics solutions to take their businesses to the next level. After all, running a business is stressful enough. Taking time away from daily operations to analyze business processes and take an accounting of what is working, what isn’t, and how to use data for better information efficiencies can seem like a waste of time.

ImageSometimes SMBs get stuck trying to identify the value proposition of investing in more robust reporting or analytics solutions to take their businesses to the next level. After all, running a business is stressful enough. Taking time away from daily operations to analyze business processes and take an accounting of what is working, what isn’t, and how to use data for better information efficiencies can seem like a waste of time. The reality, however, is that because data is what drives organization success, analytics are becoming harder to overlook. Where Excel used to be enough, the fact is the time it takes to create the right spreadsheets and recreate the process on a regular basis could be spent more effectively making business decisions and planning competitive strategies. Organizations need more standardized ways of managing their customers, supplier relationships, products, and services. This requires developing a holistic approach to information access points so that employees and decision makers do not have to spend time trying to find data instead of interacting with it. 

For some SMBs, the actual roadblock was due to the software available (time to value, pricing, licensing, etc.) and not a dread of spreadsheet use and broader information management. Luckily the availability of a wide variety of solutions that can be deployed various ways helps organizations get closer to this goal. This means that although the initial requirements identification is needed, organizations can develop solutions that meet their needs and that automate the generation of regularly required information and insights. The level of detail and complexity is left up to the organization, but taking this step gives employees an automated approach to business insight.

Irrespective of why analytics are starting to become more important to SMBs, technology can now match business needs and help support information insights without breaking the bank. Overall, understanding customer buying habits, supply chain inadequacies, or market opportunities cannot be achieved effectively through traditional spreadsheet use. At the same time, evaluating what is working and what needs improvement requires looking at information assets holistically to identify how things can run more smoothly and what opportunities can be identified.   

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Businessprogram, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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