Barclays to help SMEs access ‘big data’ to target growth

New research commissioned by Barclays has found that Scottish SMEs could be missing out on opportunities for growth because they don’t check or utilise their data frequently enough.
The study, which has been published as part of the bank’s roll out of a new online data insights service for SMEs, found that 79% of Scottish respondents don’t check their data on a daily or even weekly basis.
As of next month (May 2016), however, more than 500,000 Barclays business customers will be able to access SmartBusiness, which will analyse and bring transaction data to life and enable business owners to compare themselves against similar firms in their region, via online banking.
According to Barclays, the service is the first of its kind and will bring the power of a market research department to time-starved small business owners, for a low monthly cost.
It says SmartBusiness will show key trends around business inflows and outflows and show how money is paid in from cash, debit cards and cheques, as well as an average spend by customer.
Barclays’ latest research reveals that 56% of SMEs rarely or infrequently check their business data with 3% having never looked at it at all. While 44% of UK businesses say they check their data daily or weekly, common frustrations include being occupied by other tasks (33%), not having enough time (22%) and 15% have never even thought to analyse their own data on transactions and customers.
Jamie Grant, head of Business and Corporate Banking at Barclays, said: “For small and medium sized business owners, running a business is a full time job and it can be difficult to find the time to take stock and plan for the future.  SmartBusiness will help SMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs to both run their business by understanding their cash flow better; and to grow their business by understanding more about their customers. We want to give small businesses access to affordable market insights that traditionally would be the preserve of larger companies. We are equipping the nations businesses with access to their own data in a form that’s much easier to use, and supporting the government’s plans to promote digital business solutions around data.”
Barclays says the new tool will analyse business banking and card payment transactions to present data and intelligent insights to help customers manage and grow their business, identify opportunities and take informed actions and decisions for their business.
It claims that by using anonymised sector data, businesses will be able to compare against similar businesses in their area and track how they are performing over time. Users with a Barclaycard terminal will also be able to view customer insights such as behaviours, audiences, and spending patterns. Its design will help businesses design loyalty or reward schemes planning, by having an easy to read summary of customer spend and visits.
The poll went on to find that while there are a high number of businesses not utilising or understanding their data, many identify the value it could have on their business. The top benefits of doing so include growth, cashflow management and understanding customer base.
Thinking about analysing your business data, please select the statement(s) that best apply to you:
%
1.       It’s essential to grow my business
48%
2.       It’s essential for cash flow / staying in control of my finances
45%
3.       It’s essential for better understanding my customer base, e.g. their needs/preferences
42%
4.       It’s essential in order to gather insight into what is and isn’t working in my business
33%
5.       It’s essential for keeping up with competition
30%
Source: One Poll 26th February 2016