From turbocharging small-business productivity and optimising the customer journey to managing the IoT (Internet of Things) and creating apps, data is driving the new business landscape. In fact, it’s been said that data is the new oil. Without proper data management, it can be difficult to innovate, engage the customer and get the most out of the workforce. Frankly, it can be difficult to succeed.

But despite its value, many SMEs still aren’t using their data to its full potential. A Gartner Report reveals that poor data quality affects business productivity by up to 20%. Let’s have a look at how good data management can help small businesses increase productivity and make smarter decisions.


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Why data management matters


Data is information. And information is the key to making good decisions. There’s a simple principal worth remembering, though: not all data is created equal. In order to get the most out of your business’s data, you need to know the KPIs that matter most to your organisation. You also need to focus on generating suitable data from the right sources. 

Once you have identified the best data sources and the right metrics to track, you can set about gathering data to measure performance, tweak workflows and drive productivity. In other words, you can start putting your data to work.


How data management can improve productivity


Poor performance can often be tied to a lack of good data. Why? Well, for starters, data makes it easier to pinpoint problematic areas and bottlenecks in workflows. It can also help measure your business’s KPIs and benchmark them against your competitors. 

Data can reveal weaknesses that need to be addressed, strengths that can be doubled down on and new opportunities that are worth pursuing. Data provides you with an unbiased view of both the small and big picture.

Workforces that aren’t empowered by data can’t adequately track their performances. They’ll also struggle to get a complete view of customers and prospects. Instead of operating from a place of knowledge, they’re often operating on instinct. But by leveraging data, team members can optimise processes, increase efficiency and be more productive. This is crucial in the current climate, when the UK productivity gap is as pronounced as ever.

From tracking the success of marketing campaigns and generating leads to analysing the customer experience, there are a multitude of ways that businesses can use data. And good data starts with good data management.


Good data management can help SMEs -


  • Establish a reliable storehouse for clean and centralised data.



  • Establish clear processes for capturing data.


  • Leverage data across tools and workflows.


On the other hand, poor data management can lead to inefficient and downright harmful outcomes, such as customers being badgered with untimely or repeat sales calls, and employees wasting precious time by working with missing or incorrect information.


Five ways to be more productive using data


The benefits of data are clear. But how can small businesses use data management to be more productive?  Here are some simple ways that SMEs can use data to reach peak performance.


  • Make sure you have the right technologies. Bad data can be hugely detrimental to long-term business strategy and day-to-day operations. One of the first things SMEs will want to do is replace their legacy systems and unify their data in a single place: the Cloud. Implementing data-driven tools like CRM systems and Tableau can help companies empower their workforce with real-time data visibility, wherever they may be.


  • Leverage AI to automate data analysis. Having automated data analysis capabilities enables SMEs to get the most out of their information. Once these capabilities are in place, SMEs can identify the most appropriate KPIs for their business and gain key insights from their data. These insights are crucial for business growth.


  • Use data to optimise your productivity metrics. The old-fashioned ways of measuring productivity, such as hours worked, are going the way of the dinosaur. Data can help SME leaders replace old metrics with more effective tools that not only better measure a worker’s productivity, but can balance it with their wellbeing. And the happier a workforce is, the more productive it will be. It all helps create a positive performance loop.


  • Let your data lead you to new solutions. Even if you believe you have a grasp of your SMEs strengths and pain points, data-driven analysis may reveal some issues that you were unaware of. Think poor alignment, or substandard servic, or client-specific issues that are only revealed when benchmarked. Data can not only help you diagnose and address these concerns, it can even help identify opportunities to develop new products and services.


  • Revamp your sales and marketing strategy. We’re in the age of the customer. That means that if you’re not offering highly targeted and personalised communications, you’re not meeting customer expectations. Today’s customer expects businesses to know what they want, and when they want it. Data enables sales and marketing to be much more efficient, with better personalisation and higher-value leads. Marketing can also leverage data to track the success of campaigns and see what’s resonating and what’s missing the mark. Then tweak and repeat.


Data management and business intelligence go hand in hand


Working smarter. Empowering the workforce. Meeting the customer in new places. Building a business on the back of information rather than hunches. These are the things that are driving business in the new normal. And these are the things that are powered by data. 

Businesses are sitting on a powerful tool for success. But many haven’t learned how to use it. Without unleashing the power of their data, small businesses may struggle to thrive in a competitive climate. But with good data management, SMEs will be able to unlock their potential and create a toolkit for lasting success.

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