The Strategic Importance of Information in Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Business Decisions


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Today more than ever, information represents a guide of high strategic value in business decisions. Valuing the "right" information in a decision-making process indeed lays the groundwork for solid and informed planning, capable of flexibly addressing the competitive challenges of an increasingly uncertain and changing world.
The fact that information has now become a key strategic resource for business decisions is widely recognized in management literature and business practice, where accurate and timely information is seen as a true competitive advantage.
This best practice allows for:

  • having a solid understanding of the business reality and the reference market context, in order to reduce uncertainty and increase the likelihood of success of adopted strategies;
  • rapidly adapting to changes to maintain or enhance their competitive position. This includes the ability to anticipate and react to changes in the market and competition;
  • strengthening organizational flexibility to quickly adapt to changes, including restructuring business processes and adopting more agile organizational models.

The topic is now extremely relevant, involving both Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) and Medium-Large companies. Both types of enterprises are indeed called upon to build an internal skills system capable of reading, anticipating, and promptly seizing the changes taking place in the competitive context, seeking to valorize both internal and external sources. The development of internal skills necessary to effectively manage and analyze information includes staff training and hiring specialized talents in data analysis and competitive intelligence. However, the resources available may vary significantly between the two types of enterprises.
The company's skills system is indeed based on two essential pillars: experience and knowledge. The aspect on which SMEs often face challenges related to resource scarcity mainly concerns the ability to develop analytical skills and build business knowledge. Technological evolution offers unprecedented opportunities to overcome such obstacles.
The development of business knowledge has indeed found a valuable tool in data analysis and business intelligence. The adoption of business intelligence and data analysis tools can transform information into strategic insights, enabling SMEs to make decisions based on a deep understanding of the market context.

In particular, when it comes to internationalization pathways, the systematization of data external to the company is crucial for SMEs to understand the market and competition context.

The relevance of external information in an internationalization process

In the context of international expansion, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) face challenges of considerable complexity, stemming not only from market diversity but also from various cultural, legal, and economic barriers resulting from a lack of direct knowledge of the target geography and low market experience. In other words, the first pillar of the skills system, "experience," becomes less relevant. For this reason, information proves to be a strategic resource of immeasurable value: the ability to acquire, analyze, and apply relevant and timely information becomes fundamental for several reasons:

1. Understanding Foreign Markets

The first phase of any internationalization strategy involves a deep dive into the target market. Accurate and contextualized information about destination markets is crucial for evaluating relative opportunities (analysis of economic trends, understanding of local regulations, assessment of consumer preferences, identification of key competitors).

2. Global Positioning Strategies

Determining one's positioning strategy on a global scale requires a detailed understanding of one's industry internationally. Information about global best practices, success and failure cases in one's sector, and international competitive dynamics are essential for developing effective positioning strategies. Access to comparative data and international benchmarking enables SMEs to strategically position themselves, leveraging their strengths and differentiating themselves from the competition. Through effective information management, SMEs can especially enhance their decision-making and planning capabilities, adopting proactive strategies rather than reactive ones.

3. Risk Management and Market Scenarios

In an international context, risk management becomes complex due to geopolitical, economic, and currency variability. Information allows SMEs to continuously monitor market environments to identify potential risks and adopt preventive strategies. Scenario analysis, based on solid data and reliable projections, helps businesses prepare for various contingencies, ensuring greater resilience in their international operations.
An informed and systematic approach to information management can significantly amplify SMEs' ability to address market challenges and seize opportunities. Therefore, it is imperative for SMEs to invest in skills, technologies, and processes that valorize information as a pillar of corporate strategy.

Knowledge, especially that systematized through data analysis and business intelligence, offers a broader perspective and a framework for interpreting market trends, competitive dynamics, and growth opportunities.

In the information age, the development of business knowledge has found valuable allies in data analysis tools and business intelligence. These technologies allow for transforming large volumes of raw data into useful information, offering insights that can guide strategic decisions. Through data analysis, SMEs can identify market patterns, consumer preferences, innovation opportunities, and potential risks with unprecedented precision. Business intelligence, consequently, becomes a bridge connecting direct experience to the vast sea of available knowledge, enabling companies to make decisions based on a deep understanding of the global context.

ExportPlanning's Market Insights solutions are designed to meet these needs.