Small businesses tackle big data with visual analytics

Limited analytics and IT resources holding you back? Not anymore.

It's simple: Companies that effectively gather, create and use data will have a dramatic advantage over those that don't. Simple, but not easy for the many small-to-midsize businesses (SMB) still struggling with an array of static charts and spreadsheets not conducive to data analysis. Overburdened IT departments and a lack of in-house data experts add to the problem.

Business users need the ability to explore data on their own – with descriptive and predictive analytics, one-touch forecasting, correlation calculations and auto charting, all without going through IT for support. And now they can. Read on to find out what four SMBs are able to do with SAS Visual Analytics.

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Credit union plans to grow with visual analytics

When Jonathan Walker saw a SAS Visual Analytics demo that ran a correlation across multiple variables in a billion-row table – and did it in mere seconds – he was sold.

"We have to be forward-thinking," says Walker, Business Intelligence Manager for Local Government Federal Credit Union. "We don't have a billion rows of data right now, but I have to look down the road to when we will have that much data. Our regulators and our senior management team will want to look at all of it – and we have to have a solution that can handle big data. The other solutions we saw couldn't do that."

Using SAS Visual Analytics, the credit union will be able to explore why and how its 230,000 members are using its products and services, better understand its membership and uncover opportunities.

"Between answering all of our 'why' questions, the forecasting functions and the visuals we're able to get from large data sets, we knew that SAS Visual Analytics was what we needed," says Walker. "SAS gives us a competitive edge to be able to meet operational and strategic initiatives set forth by our board and management teams."

Digital direct marketer uses data visualization for data discovery, exploration

ContactLab uses SAS Visual Analytics to make more strategic use of marketing data and to optimize campaign performance and reporting. With offices throughout Europe, the Italian multinational company specializes in digital direct marketing and comprehensive consulting services.

"SAS Visual Analytics helps us uncover hidden trends and relationships without becoming overwhelmed by the amount of data we have to work with," said Massimo Fubini, founder and CEO of ContactLab. "Our clients rely on us to reach targeted consumer segments in direct and relevant ways. SAS helps us to do this successfully."

The company uses SAS Visual Analytics to calculate key performance indicators (KPIs) based on customer frequency, evaluation of marketing campaigns, analysis and monitoring of user profiles and analyzing purchasing behaviors with millions of emails.

ContactLab found SAS Visual Analytics' combination of data visualization and analytical power to be the solution's distinguishing characteristic. The ability to build a simple visual environment, with almost instantaneous response times, enables the company to quickly calculate ROI, obtain feedback from campaigns, and understand relationships between client behaviors and sales.

Creditreform boosts credit rating quality, forecasting

Already Germany's top provider of quality business information and debt collection services, Creditreform is using SAS Visual Analytics to widen its market lead through better data visualization. The new high-performance solution makes Creditreform even better at providing the highest-quality financial information and credit ratings for businesses.

Through its online database, Creditreform makes more than 24 million credit reports from 26 countries in Europe and from China available around the clock. SAS now helps Creditreform quickly detect relationships within those high data volumes and present results in easy-to-read graphics. SAS Visual Analytics simplifies the process, so every Creditreform employee can use the software without training.

"SAS Visual Analytics makes it faster and easier for our analysts to detect correlations in our business data," said Bernd Bütow, Managing Director at Creditreform. "That, in turn, improves the quality and forecasting accuracy of our credit ratings."

DirectPay visualizes data anywhere, anytime on mobile devices

Another SMB that uses SAS Visual Analytics is DirectPay, a credit management organization based in the Netherlands. Its services include debtor financing, credit checks, billing, factoring, forward flow financing and collection. DirectPay's decision making depends on effectively analyzing customer information so that executives have greater insights into risks and opportunities.

The challenge for DirectPay was getting this information into the right hands at the right time. With data visualization, DirectPay can now easily create and share the results of analytics more effectively, notably with field sales staff who access the information via mobile devices before making customer visits.

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