About 15 years ago, business intelligence solutions were out on the market, but very few small businesses were able to afford or manage the technology. Rather, the largest enterprises and health care providers tended to be the more popular users of advanced intelligence software, as they traditionally had the resources and budget to do so. In the past few years, though, this restriction of sorts has eased significantly, as software vendors find ways to keep costs and complexity low.
Now, entrepreneurs are capable of leveraging the most advanced intelligence solutions out there, but there have been a range of issues involved in actually monetizing the technology and enjoying high returns on investment. Back in September, Datanami reported that 47 percent of companies were not able to accurately explain the reasons why big data is a sound investment, nor the financial impact of the technology within their companies.
Other research has indicated that nearly 90 percent of big data users have yet to see any ROI. One might be quick to target the software itself as the culprit behind this problem, but that is simply not the case. Rather, companies are struggling to get a tight handle on the best practices of big data utilization, sometimes because of a skills gap that prevents hiring the right employees and other situations caused by a simple lack of proper information governance and general data management policies.
If you would like an overview of some of the big data solutions that are available to small-business owners, check out this quick video from Chris Robbins that provides a little insight:
Now, while struggles persist, leaders from across industries and size classifications in the private sector remain aggressive in their pursuit of analytics technology. In many instances, entrepreneurs will benefit from the use of managed services for their backend IT implementation and maintenance needs, as this allows their technology workers and themselves to focus more on strategic alignment of the solutions to core objectives.
International Data Corporation recently forecast businesses to spend $101.9 billion globally in 2019, while investments will be driven by a wider variety of needs given the diversity of objectives and needs across industries. As the software itself becomes more specialized and customizable, and companies work to further a range of processes and operational frameworks through the use of intelligence solutions, investments will expand quickly.
According to the analysts, the market will see a compound annual growth rate of 14.7 percent between this year and 2019, while spending is already expected to hit nearly $60 billion this year. It has become clear that the complexities and challenges involved in big data have not hindered adoption, and purchases might be getting a bit more intelligent among organizations thanks to increased awareness of what it takes to generate ROI.
The researchers argued that budgets will likely tip in the direction of resources and staff members to help generate value from big data analytics, rather than the bulk of purchases being directed toward the software alone.
"Talent shortage coupled with the high interest in adoption of new technologies will continue to drive high growth in business analytics services spending at the worldwide level," Ali Zaidi of IDC's IT Consulting and Systems Integration Services unit explained. "In addition, the desire to consume the entire lifecycle of business analytics services will drive high spending growth across all business analytics services lines in the near future."
To illustrate this, IDC argued that outsourcing will see a 13 percent compound annual growth rate, and business process-related vendor services are going to make up the lion's share of that industry facet this year. Small-business owners must be especially smart in their purchases of big data solutions, and should seriously consider leveraging outsourced services to safeguard the investments from poor returns due to a lack of functionality or inaccurate integration processes.
Either way, IDC stated that analytics is becoming the foundation for 3rd Platform technologies - which include the Internet of Things, advanced mobility and other breakthrough trends that surfaced in the past couple of years.
Connecting the dots
Analytics is becoming more of a requirement than an option thanks to the increased speed with which new technologies are hitting marketplaces, as well as how quickly industries and consumer preferences are transforming. Despite only being around for a few years in its current form, big data will be a decisive driver of business success for years to come, and small-business owners cannot shy away from this trend entirely and expect to remain highly competitive.
"Analytics is becoming more of a requirement than an option."
One example of the importance of big data ties into another trend, the IoT, which will generate exponentially higher volumes of data than the ones already seen in the past decade. IT Business Edge recently explained some of the reasons why big data and the IoT are becoming so intertwined, affirming that intelligence solutions will be critical to make sense of such a complex trend for many organizations.
The news provider asserted that leaders will need to find ways to connect the dots and create synergy between big data and the IoT to get the most out of each.
"There are many approaches," Constellation Research Founder and Principal Analyst Ray Wang told the source in an email interview. "The question with the IoT is really what data you want to capture via sensors. From there, you have to figure out how to move data to information, information to insight, insight to actions so that you can augment decisions."
Virtually all of information and communications technology frameworks are converging as time goes on. For example, unified communications is becoming more reliant upon cloud computing, while mobility needs to be integrated into UC and IT frameworks for optimal performance. Small-business owners who struggle to strike the right balance of technology management can get support from service providers that specialize in entrepreneurial needs.
By being more proactive in the preparation of operations for new deployments, these technology trends will make for a highly profitable future.