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What's a winning formula to pitch at a small business? Most service providers believe it's about selling something simple, fast, and cheap.

Today, however, a new ingredient must be in the mix: intelligence.

A powerful drive for data-driven insight is a key finding of Ovum's latest global research into micro, small, and medium-sized businesses and their digital service needs.

Indeed, "getting smart" lies at the center of SMEs' business concerns, aspirations, and struggles:

  • Analytics and business intelligence has become the number-one app investment that SMEs worldwide are currently considering, spanning sectors like high tech and professional services, but also retail and construction firms.

  • Data collection and analysis is the second-highest technology challenge for SMEs (after cybersecurity), while the storage and management of this data is also a major concern.

  • SMEs aspiring to grow their digital revenues are also the most likely to invest in analytics and intelligence tools.


Figure 1: SMEs: Top apps under consideration

SMEs Top apps under consideration

Source: Ovum 2018/19 SoHo and SME Insights Survey, n=4,048


Ovum's 2018/19 SoHo and SME Insights Survey reveals that this is not media-fueled fad – smaller businesses have clearly articulated reasons to invest in analytics:

  • SMEs want to manage profitability. They want to what know factors keep their business healthy. Tracking and managing of energy costs, as well as various business assets are also highly ranked, emphasizing – as Ovum has stated before – that positioning IoT services for SMEs is an untapped opportunity.

  • SMEs want to be noticed. They want to understand which interaction channels work best, particularly among digital options. Marketing automation is a linked investment with analytics.

  • SMEs want to be loved. They want deeper understanding of what makes their customers keep coming back. CRM investment is another allied priority.

  • SMEs want happier employees. They want to augment their employees' intelligence with digital tools that help them have more satisfying and productive jobs.

Simple, fast, and cheap can no longer cut it as a value proposition to SMEs. But just offering an intelligence tool isn't a credible solution either; most SMEs don't know how to implement data-driven insight. Here's a proven gap for someone to provide digital advice to the world's increasingly savvy SME. Are you smart enough to fill it?

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