Content, structured and unstructured are locked in a variety of formats, locations and applications that are stored in your organization. When connected and used such information can help increase revenue, reduce costs, respond to customer requirements quickly and accurately and bring products to the marketplace faster. Unlocking information is not a trivial task and many large organizations are already practising this in their day to day business operations.
However, SMEs in Malaysia do not understand how to combine new technology processes and empowering their employees to unlock the hidden value of information within their business. Business owners have the perception that the cost of business analytics far outweigh the benefits. In a survey of 100 SMEs conducted recently, only 12% have deployed business analytics while the balance believe that using spreadsheets is a good enough tool.
Business analytics is by no means the creation of macros only as the tool allows business users to make sense of data from both structured and unstructured sources – something that spreadsheets cannot achieve. Information are stored in a variety of locations – your ERP solution, emails, excel spreadsheets, survey forms form the web, social media and so forth. A much more sophisticated analytical tool is required to combine all these together in order to provide businesses with the relevant information for business decisions today.
Even for those who have deployed business analytics are using it in a very simplistic manner – providing sales force with aging data for collection, sales performance by business unit and sales person and corporate P&L. Some fundamental analytics SMEs should look at is trends – both customers, products and territories; product returns; customer preferences’ and so forth.
Coupled now with social media, customers often provide feedback on product and services via the medium of Facebook, Twitter and Instragram. These type of unstructured information contains high value feedback that an organization can use to improve the quality of products and services. Unlocking the value of information just became more challenging for Malaysian SMEs.