Small firms need data. Big Data. And Big Data has been growing, well, hugely. The movement toward the cloud has simplified embracing new technologies but only somewhat, as the options tied to Big Data, in terms of methodologies and platforms, have grown as well.
For SMBs — and especially firms operating in the B2B arena — the movement to embrace Big Data is one that must happen sooner rather than later. As Ness Software Engineering Services Chief Technology Officer Moshe Kranc explained to PYMNTS, many smaller (and some not so small) firms operate out of what he termed a “technical deficit,” where they still operate on legacy systems (Cobalt, anyone?) and where information remains siloed across different departments or individuals and never gets shared to create a holistic (and thus valuable) view of the firm, its competitive landscape and interactions with customers across geographies or across a supply chain.
For some verticals, said Kranc, the reality becomes a hard-and-fast truth about needing software and efficient data intelligence once a larger player in a previously traditional (read: legacy tech) industry catches on and embraces digital and data wholeheartedly. Take turbines as an example, he said. “This has been a low-tech industry,” he said. “But one day, you wake up, and then, you have a competitor like GE who has jumped in and become, in part, a software company … Now, customers [the businesses that buy and operate the turbines, not the end electricity users] don’t have to have downtime for maintenance that is as long as it once had been,” as they get better info through Big Data about usage, wear and tear and triaging problems. For the smaller B2B players in this industry, said Kranc, “now you’ve suddenly got to work with software” and almost certainly work with new technologies in order to deliver competitive services to their own customers.
For B2B in general, said Kranc, the impetus is to break down siloed information and find a solution to a continued need to “deliver information to suppliers as one service,” he said, with certain services tied to different types of data.
The financial services industry is also one that is ripe for a fuller push toward Big Data. The fact remains, said Kranc, that the regulatory and compliance issues in the financial realm (especially with cross-border transactions) mean that tracking risk — and especially payment risk — can burden older systems to the point where reporting lags the real-time needs of the company itself. Tracking payments fraud and credit risk (and not to the end consumer but in helping firms identify risk, which itself is B2B) will take on increasing importance, said Kranc, in a regulatory environment that mandates continuous due diligence.