How Data-Savvy SMBs Make Decisions On The Fly

Customers no longer tolerate long order processing times, inconsistent information across channels or service glitches. And yet, business is increasingly global and complex.

To meet these demands, businesses of all types — not just digital giants and deep-pocketed competitors — certainly need instantaneous access to relevant data. They also, however, need the ability to respond immediately to the insights that data reveals. In other words, organizations need to do business “in the moment.” This is as true for small to midsize businesses (SMBs) as it is for any other size company today. All businesses — and especially the fast-growing ones — need operational, supply chain, sales and inventory insights at their fingertips to make the best decisions, seize hidden opportunities, anticipate problems and delight customers.

A recent Forbes Insights briefing, “Doing Business In-the-Moment: How SMBs Run Live in the Digital Economy,” sponsored by SAP, examines this issue and how several SMBs are using new technology to thrive.

A small retailer, for instance, that can monitor its inventory on the fly and perform real-time cost analysis will be able to make decisions and take actions to avoid stock-outs or over-stocks and to optimize profits and losses. A particular concern is cash flow, which must be preserved at all costs. What SMBs do today affects their financial statements tomorrow; there is no buffer.

Sophisticated “real-time” systems historically were outside the budgets of most SMBs, yet their agility renders them better able to take advantage of new and emerging technologies — particularly those delivered through the cloud.

An example of a fast-growing business using live capabilities from the cloud to improve healthcare is Medistance, a telemedicine company in Budapest, Hungary. The goal of this 50-employee business is to revolutionize patient care globally by connecting patients with caregivers using real-time streams of clinically valid information, which enables physicians to make health decisions on a “live” basis.

Patients perform at-home tests and send the results via a dedicated device to physicians. This approach provides much greater reliability and accuracy than self-reporting or sending data via smartphone. Even more important, doctors can adjust medicines and dosages in the moment, based on the findings, with no lag time or need for an office visit.

Another company that is effectively applying analytics for in-the-moment decisions is Fumajet, a 22-employee business in Rio de Janeiro that specializes in controlling epidemics and agricultural pests to aid public health. Because mosquito-borne diseases cause upward of a million deaths annually, the World Health Organization and governments in warm climates are scrambling to find new ways to fight vector-borne infectious disease.

Fumajet targets this problem in a unique way, sending teams of motorcyclists equipped with pesticide foggers to trap and kill mosquitos. Motorcycles are both less costly and more effective than traditional planes or trucks.

Fumajet’s secret weapon, though, is a sophisticated system that transmits real-time data via GPS technology — embedded in both the motorcycles and the smartphones operators carry — back to Fumajet headquarters. This data, and the ability for it to adjust on the fly based on conditions, is the heart of Fumajet’s mission to stop mosquitos before they cause illness. Customers in Angola, the Dominican Republic, Equatorial Guinea and the company’s home country of Brazil are already using its services, and expansion to other areas is imminent.


This article was written by Hugo Moreno from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.