Business Technology

Barclays encourages UK SMEs to use big data for growth with new online service

3 min read

18 April 2016

Former deputy editor

SmartBusiness from Barclays is a new online service designed to encourage UK SMEs to embrace big data for growth, as a study has found more than half of the businesses are failing to comb through statistics on a regular basis.

Set to launch in May, the service claims to “bring transaction data to life” for business customers. The platform will give business leaders the chance to compare their firms against similar businesses found locally with a selection of anonymised data to assess performance patterns internally and externally.

SmartBusiness will be made available for a monthly cost of £4.95 plus VAT to help the bank’s 500,000 business customers. Insights will include inflows and outflows, whether payments are made in cash, cards or cheques, and average customer spends.

Ian Rand, CEO of Barclays Business, 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.”

The launch comes as research found 56 per cent of SMEs check business data rarely to infrequently, while three per cent have never looked at. That means that growth decisions are being made based on gut, rather than physical evidence within reach.

Elsewhere, 44 per cent of companies said data is checked on a daily or weekly basis. That said, a common irritant for 33 per cent is being too busy with other duties, while 15 per cent said they’d never actually considered analysing data.

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Rand added: “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.”

With SmartBusiness customers able to break down company results, the idea of the design is that they will be able to create loyalty schemes and other campaigns with a simple way of checking customer spending habits.

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