These days, businesses realise data is as valuable as gold, with 53 percent of them adopting Big Data initiatives. Particularly in the case of small businesses, harnessing data with the right tools can help to set your offerings apart from the crowd.

This can not only give you a competitive advantage, it can help you satisfy your customers in new, better ways.

But how do you go about transforming your data from a headache into a valuable asset?

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3 Microsoft tools for data-driven SMBs

In this blog post, we’ll run you through three of the best Microsoft products that’ll help you get the most out of your data.

1. Compiling data with Azure Data Factory

So, you’ve got data. But how do you compile it all together?

Azure’s Data Factory takes the manual labour out of integrating your data sources. It allows you to move and access a complete view of all your information, whether it’s on-premise or in the cloud. What’s more, its visual drag-and-drop UI makes the tool easy to navigate.

2. Visualising the power of data with Power BI

Did you know that over five million users are embracing Power BI for their business intelligence efforts?

Put simply, Power BI is a Microsoft tool that bridges the gap between collecting data and understanding it.

The program displays your data on a large dashboard, offering you a comprehensive overview of your company that you can explore. The information can be presented as easily-readable graphics, which can then be shared with colleagues across any device.

Think of Power BI as a translator. You might not be able to understand data in its raw form, but once it’s been translated in beautiful graphics, Power BI can help you understand its importance. This helps you to make more informed decisions, quicker.

3. Predicting the future with Azure Machine Learning

Sixty percent of organisations have chosen machine learning and artificial intelligence as their company’s most significant data initiative for the next year.

For small businesses who want to push the boundaries, Azure Machine Learning allows you to create your own predictive analytics algorithms, either manually or by using one of the tool’s many templates.

Ultimately, with the right predictive models, your organisation can predict customer behaviours. You can also predict impact, cost or outcomes of internal processes. As well as making your business more competitive, that kind of hindsight could also improve your business strategy, planning and budget allocation.

Big data for small businesses

With flocks of businesses already embracing data analytic tools and seeing the benefits, it’s about time yours did, too.

However, as with anything new, it’s important to walk before you learn to run. So, research the right, secure data tools for your small business thoroughly and seek professional IT help if you require it. Only then can you create a data strategy that’ll propel your business into a future brimming with success.

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