Big Data Analytics Adoption in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Data is a highly valued asset in today’s connected world and is growing in volume like never before. Enterprises across the spectrum, from multinationals to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), are exploring avenues to harness and exploit data. The use of big data technologies is altering the way businesses across industries operate. To address their voluminous data challenges, there is a dire need for SMEs to seriously think about big data adoption.

The above statement is validated by a report published by Research and Markets, which forecasts that big data deployment by SMEs will witness a CAGR of 43% before the year 2018. It further points out that SMEs will continue the momentum of investing in big data and business analytics. The report also suggests that nearly a quarter of worldwide revenues will be generated from companies with less than 500 employees onboard. This plunge will help them improve customer understanding, penetrate new markets, and eliminate overhead expenses in real-time.

Like any other multinational, Big Data Analytics (BDA) renders various opportunities for SMEs to create a competitive strategic influence on decision making. Advanced data management and analytics drive growth for industries and companies. [quote]SMEs are positioned well to capture the long-lasting benefits of big data. Given their size and flexibility to adapt, even a minor change can facilitate a large-scale impact.[/quote]

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What is the scope of big data for SMEs in this scenario?

Most times, SMEs are under intense pressure to prove their mettle against corporate giants. Large businesses are equipped with technology infrastructure and operational abilities. They use these capabilities to harness actionable insights from data with analytics. On the other hand, SMEs are limited by constraints such as scale, storage, capital, and security. These factors leave a lasting impact, especially when technology is maturing at a rapid pace and keeping up with change becomes challenging. Therefore, all these factors push SMEs to reflect and ponder over concepts, such as:

  • How dire is our need for BDA?
  • How much would big data adoption cost the organization?
  • How much should the organization allocate for BDA spending?
  • How do we plan the budget for this investment?
  • How would we implement big data solutions?

The investment in BDA is worth the risk. It helps organizations arrive at decisions faster, determine price fluctuations, analyze markets, manage campaigns, and derive other industry advantages. Customer profiling is another crucial aspect of sales & marketing and BDA has the potential to impact sales significantly. It offers an in-depth study of customer behavior, which, in turn, helps companies enhance product designs, add features, and develop new products.

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However, not every organization can afford this cost.


Because of lack of experience, the SMEs are skeptical about the ROI for outsourcing or establishing in-house data processing expertise, applications, capabilities, or approaches. With limited IT capabilities and infrastructure, they are reluctant to over invest in high denomination fixed costs, such as BDA. In addition, with the overwhelming amount of choices they need support and guidance in selecting technology platforms, data sets, and approaches.

Does every BDA implementation guarantee success then?

Although, small businesses can reap the benefits of evolving information streams to make data-driven decisions and boost business prospects, not every BDA implementation translates into success. Many organizations fail to successfully and effectively implement big data solutions to harness its true potential. Various reasons and approaches can be attributed to these failures. However, a carefully woven proactive approach can save them the disaster. Therefore, the need to consider the right approach for deploying big data solutions arises.

Some factors that play a part in the successful implementation of BDA and should be considered include:

  • Migration to cloud with BI as a service model with managed services
  • Leverage a partner to utilize the optimal blend of people, process, and technology
  • Use an integrated reporting platform for insights across multiple data sources
  • Get started with a pre-built library of best practice reports and dashboards
  • Establish strong governance and build self-service capabilities into the process

The future of the BDA industry looks bright. According to a NASSCOM report, the data analytics market in India is expected to touch $2.3 billion mark in 2017-18. SMEs have the perfect opportunity to restructure their tech knowledge and infrastructure to leverage large-scale benefits of BDA. Real-time and affordable cloud services facilitate SMEs across verticals to exploit BDA potential to their advantage. This is possible without making huge capital investments and by taking advantage of available cloud services to access data anywhere, anytime. BDA offers the freedom and mobility of using technology to improve customer understanding and penetrate new markets.

BDA adoption has paved the way for SMEs to outperform their peers and competitors. Cutting across industry lines, both established and new players are now leveraging data analytics for driving strategies and innovation. Now is the time to switch to BDA and organizations should do this before it’s too late and the opportunity has passed!

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by Vijayalakshmi Anandan

The Deep Learning Curve is a technology-based podcast hosted by Vijayalakshmi Anandan - Video Presenter and Podcaster at Analytics India Magazine. This podcast is the narrator's journey of curiosity and discovery in the world of technology.

Manish Mittal
Manish Mittal is responsible for building Axtria’s offshore organization and managing deliveries for global clients. With over 20 years of cross functional experience, working as business leader for organizations like Cognizant, marketRx, MTC, Groupe SEB, and BEL, Manish helps businesses gain valuable insights and direction in achieving their business goals. As a leader,he is known for his people management skills and passion for building customer focused performance driven delivery organizations. Most recently, Manish was with Cognizant as Senior Principal and offshore practice leader for Enterprise Analytics Practice. There he was instrumental in building and scaling global delivery organization for analytics and consulting services. Prior to this, Manish was head of Professional Services at marketRx India, which was acquired by Cognizant in November 2007. His academics include Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from IIT Delhi and MBA from Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University.

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