Using Data to Make Decisions

Small businesses that use data to help make decisions reported revenue growth of 21 percent in the last financial year, as compared to 9 percent for businesses reporting limited use of data, according to a new survey.

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A new report from Exact, a provider of business software in the cloud for small- and medium-sized businesses, shows that small businesses that use data for decision-making are growing more revenue as compared to their counterparts who use data on a limited basis. According to the survey, businesses across the U.S. and Europe that lean on data insights reported revenue growth of 21 percent in the last financial year, as compared to 9 percent for businesses reporting limited use of data. Data-led businesses also experienced a net profit margin of 22 percent, versus 14 percent achieved by small businesses in which data has a limited role.

Key findings within manufacturing include:

  • Small manufacturers in the U.S. had the lowest percentage of on time deliveries (72 percent) as compared to their peers abroad. The impact of delayed orders in the U.S. is significant – 25 percent of customers don’t come back when a delivery is late.
  • Cost control, cost reduction and finding new customers were the top three business challenges cited by manufacturers this year.
  • Within the manufacturing industry, respondents named product development and innovation, insights into costs of materials and processing, and efficient inventory management as the top three challenges.
  • 53 percent of manufacturers feel that better insight into prices for materials from suppliers would help them gain control over costs of materials and processing.
  • Orders for small series are on the rise – 56 percent of small manufacturers anticipate the market evolving toward more orders, delivered faster and in smaller series. 

This is Exact's second annual global research report, “Small Business Barometer 2016,” which takes a look at business and industry challenges faced on a daily basis, and to what extent technology is used to meet these challenges.  For full report, click here.

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