Unlocking the Power of Data: How Canada’s SME Sector Can Thrive in the Data Economy

Canada is claiming its spot at the forefront of the emerging data economy – and businesses of every size stand to gain. Learn five ways you can benefit from the emerging data economy to drive increased business value.

Digital technology and data are driving business transformation now more than ever. The integration of digital technology into all areas of business, such as switching to a cloud environment or using AI-driven insights to boost sales efficiency, has significantly shifted how companies operate and deliver value to their customers, especially over the last decade.

In response, more organizations are recognizing the power of data, alongside the power of their wider data ecosystem — defined as the global digital ecosystem that revolves around the collection, storage, analysis, and utilization of data as a valuable resource. As data networking becomes the core network in the world of computing for businesses of any size, the more users who join the data economy and Data Cloud ecosystem, the more data scope and reach these users gain.

Businesses that join the Data Cloud are the ones leading in today’s data economy and driving tangible business outcomes.

Canada is at the Forefront of the Data Economy

As organizations around the world become increasingly data-driven, Canada is poised to be a central hub for data innovation.

Canadian investment in “data, databases, and data science” has grown over 400% since 2005.

The country’s rich talent pool and best-in-class engineering schools make it a highly sought-after location for developing innovative technology – supporting its trajectory of becoming a world-class leading economy.

Companies and investors stand to gain heavily from investing in Canada’s data economy, with many tech companies sourcing from local talent and fuelling growth across the economy. Amongst others, Snowflake, the Data Cloud company, has recognized the city’s capabilities to drive data innovation — opening their newest engineering hub in Toronto late last year.

Driving Canada’s SME sector with Data

The data economy thrives when businesses of all levels join the Data Cloud network to increase data sharing and collaboration. The SME sector has long been the backbone of the Canadian economy, making up 98 percent of all businesses in the country and employing 8.2 million Canadians, according to Statistics Canada. 

By embracing the data economy, small and medium sized businesses can see a real impact on their bottom line, their customer experiences, and even their product strategies and pricing models.

Having a single source of truth for all data, in a secure, governed, and private fashion, can help drive businesses forward.

Top 5 Ways SMEs can Benefit from the Emerging Data Economy:

By tapping into the power of data and nurturing a data culture, organizations can drive successful growth and better serve their customers.

SME businesses are critical to the data economy because they have the ability to be nimble and flexible, and gather more niche data points catered toward specific audiences. Small businesses have a unique opportunity to benefit from the data economy because while they don’t have the same resources as larger organizations, they can tap into data through data sharing and collaboration through the Data Cloud to help with their own insights.

Here are the top five ways small businesses can benefit by leveraging the data economy to drive increased value and operational efficiencies: 

Enhanced Customer Insights

By gaining access to more data, businesses can develop a better understanding of their customers’ behaviours and preferences. These insights allow small businesses to tailor their products or services to meet their customer’s needs more effectively and increase customer loyalty. For instance, modernizing the overall customer buying journey and gathering insights on subscribers to ensure email lists are segmented accordingly. 

Improved Operational Efficiency

Through analyzing data, SME businesses can identify inefficiencies in their operations and take steps to streamline them. This can include finding inefficiencies in supply chains and discovering information that isn’t centralized or immediately available. By understanding where the disconnect is and taking appropriate measures, this can lead to increased productivity, cost savings, and ultimately, better profits.

Early Risk Identification and Fraud Prevention

In 2022, a recent report found that 60 percent of Canadian organizations surveyed experienced some form of fraud or economic crime the last 24 months. By examining data patterns and trends, businesses can more quickly identify irregular activity at all stages of operation and prevent fraudulent transactions from occurring, such as reducing the risk of sampling errors and improving internal controls.

Better Business Decision Making

To optimize business decisions, SME business owners can tap into data to gain valuable insights that will take their business to the next level. This includes everything from making more informed decisions about hiring, inventory management, and other critical business functions. In addition to identifying trends and predicting demand.

Access to New Markets

Data can help businesses identify new markets and opportunities for growth. By analyzing consumer behaviour and trends in different regions or industries, SME businesses can identify new areas to increase their customer base and expand their operations. Specifically, being able to predict regions of future demand and tailor business operations and marketing strategies accordingly. 

For SME businesses, leveraging the data economy presents a significant opportunity to gain a competitive advantage by making smarter business decisions to drive growth, improve security, and streamline processes. By investing in data innovation, businesses can unlock their full potential and thrive in the ever-evolving digital landscape.

About the author

Shannon Katschilo currently serves as the Country Manager of Canada at Snowflake. Katschilo brings over 15 years of client connection-building and employee stewardship to her role, scaling Snowflake’s presence in the market and taking a data-first approach to improving experiences at all levels of operation. Prior to Snowflake, Katschilo served as the General Manager and AVP of Sales at Medallia where she exhibited a 600% increase in new logos by excavating whitespace and striving to maximize customer satisfaction. Katschilo is committed to sharing her knowledge throughout the industry by devising and chairing meetings, hosting client events, and regularly presenting at conferences and webinars. In addition, she is passionate about female mentorship and sponsorship, and prioritizes bringing an equitable lens to data-driven decisions by creating opportunities for women and underrepresented groups to take on leadership positions within the field. Katschilo holds an undergraduate degree in Environmental Studies, Business, and Environment from the University of Waterloo.

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