Recent research from Nucleus Commercial Finance has revealed that lockdown restrictions have impacted future plans for nearly a third (31%) of SMBs, but Don-Carolis has said that more informed decisions can be made by smaller organisations through smarter use of data.
“While the latest government announcement does offer a roadmap out of the crisis, restrictions will remain for some time and a return to business as usual won’t happen overnight,” explained TrueCue‘s managing director.
“The negative sentiment expressed by SMBs at this lack of certainty is understandable, but by making better use of data, business leaders can improve their ability to make informed strategic decisions and gain a better sense of direction for how to manage the business forward as we exit lockdown restrictions.”
Challenges faced by business leaders during lockdown over the past year have included managing increased debt, the need to reduce costs, managing staffing challenges and trying to identify new revenue streams.
In response, SMBs have been found to typically rely on previous experiences as the basis for decision-making, which has proved insufficient in such unpredictable times, and makes data-driven resolutions ever the more vital.
“SMBs do not have the same resources as larger counterparts, making them more vulnerable to disruption,” Don-Carolis continued.
“Despite this, we firmly believe SMBs can overcome the current challenges posed by existing restrictions by being smarter with their data, leveraging their investments made into digital initiatives and making conscious strides to improving their data and analytics maturity.
“Even before Covid, SMBs were recognising the value data can bring to their business – whether as a means of creating greater actionable insights, improving forecasting or gaining a better understanding of how resources can and should be allocated, the merits of data was not lost on business leaders. But often, the challenges lay with how to leverage it effectively.”
The importance of formulating a decisive data strategy in 2021
Making better use of data
According to Don-Carolis, low data and analytics maturity among SMBs has been due to lacking enforcement of an organisation-wide data culture, but thoroughly checking how capabilities are viewed across the company, while considering wider goals, can be a big step in the right direction.
“To unlock the benefits, SMBs must assess how data and analytics are conducted and viewed across their business, while also aligning any approach with the wider corporate strategy,” said Don-Carolis.
“Early adopters of advanced data and analytics processes will be far more likely to foresee challenges ahead and plan a successful route forward out of lockdown.
“Ultimately, the benefits of advancing your data and analytics maturity are now recognised as a necessity, meaning business leaders must install the right tools and effectively train their employees to gain true value from their data.
“With the government laying down a roadmap out of lockdown restrictions, it’s important SMBs are leveraging their data effectively, to ensure they remain nimble and reactive to any future challenges.”