Dangerous Digital Divide Looming for Small Businesses | Markle | Advancing America's Future

Dangerous Digital Divide Looming for Small Businesses

Publication Date: January 14, 2016

By Zoë Baird

Small businesses have been critical in powering America through the greatest transformation of our economy since the Industrial Revolution. Nearly two-thirds of the jobs created during our recovery have been generated by startups and small enterprises. But as we begin the new year, those businesses are increasingly in danger of falling on the wrong side of an emerging digital divide.

Large corporations are investing heavily in data and analytics, far outpacing the investment capabilities of smaller firms. According to a recent GE Accenture report, 84 percent of executives in large companies worldwide indicated that big data analytics could shift the competitive landscape for their industry in the next 12 months. And 80-90 percent report that big data analytics is either the top priority of the company or in the top three. If the public and private sectors don’t come together to fix this imbalance, many small companies will be pushed out of the market to the detriment of the American economy. In 2016, we need a national public-private effort to solve this growing problem and ensure small businesses have the access to the modern data tools they need to thrive in the new economy.

Data has enormous power to transform a business, identifying efficiencies across an operation and spurring innovation. With advanced analytics, companies can forecast demand, optimize supply chains, identify emerging markets, and increase exports to the world’s growing middle class.

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