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Current Trends in Small Business Analytics

Analytics as a discipline is constantly evolving. Advances in technology allow what was once expensive and difficult to now be at the fingertips of any business user. The goal of analytics is “to turn data into information, and information into insight.” -Carly Fiorina, Former CEO of HP

Fiorina, highlighted some of the key steps in analytics. Reporting turns raw data into information that can be consumed by a company, and through analysis you turn information into insights. Taking her comments one important step further, you need to turn insight into action if you want to progress down the path to value with analytics.

Analytics is constantly evolving, so staying current is paramount to success.

Staying current is all about being strategic in time management. I have to stay up to date on current trends in analytics as well as with new analytics applications and technologies. Besides just staying current for my own benefit, I share relevant updates with my colleagues, clients and followers.

Every few months I devote a day to discover what the current trends in analytics are. I do this both to refresh the slides in my presentation and to refresh my mind to see what I may have missed.

The amount of literature out there on analytics continues to blossom at an amazing rate, making it a true challenge to stay well versed on what’s hot and what’s not. I read a new analytics themed book about once a month and I have well over 200 blogs, web sites and social media groups cataloged. So I like to think I’m pretty well versed on what is current.

If I had to pick 5 current trends in small business analytics to talk about it would be:

(1) Picking a Good Business Intelligence Tool

(2) Mining Public Unstructured Data

(3) Mapping Your Business Data Environment

(4) Centralizing Various Data Sources

(5) Understanding Data Science and Big Data Analytics

Every time I go to list the top 5 analytics trends, I find that some things change and some stay the same. Ever since I have been writing about analytics, data visualization is near the top. Business dashboards continue to be a big need. Business Intelligence (BI) tools evolve and new ones’ pop up, but Tableau continues to be a market leader.

Small Businesses who want to optimize the use of analytics need to start with finding a good BI tool to help them make sense of their business data. MS Excel is the most common option to get started with.

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