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Digitizing operations is an opportunity to better understand your customers and provide better experiences

Today, Brazil has more than 17 million small businesses, which represent 99% of all companies in the country and are responsible for about 30% of GDP, according to Sebrae (Brazilian Service of Support to Micro and Small Enterprises). These entrepreneurs, according to a survey by the institute, started to carry out more online operations since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic as a way to survive. The increase was at least 16% in the total number of traders who started using digital tools.

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Meanwhile, the IDC points out that the production of data in the world doubles every two years and that, after Covid-19, at least 43% of companies of all sizes intend to take some of their management systems to the cloud. The arrival of 5G in Brazil will have a

important role in this advance and will involve technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, internet of things, security and robotics, for breaking barriers of connectivity that previously restricted the adoption of these services.

This means that the volume of data generated by companies, which will be more digitalized and with their systems in the cloud, is expected to grow even faster in the coming years and, in order to know how to navigate this sea of ​​information, they will need to have a good Big Data strategy. A survey carried out by Edelman and Microsoft revealed that only 3% of Brazilian SMEs today intend to prioritize investment in data analysis - and much of it because they are still unaware of or do not know how to use this technology.

But with the digitalization of services and the contact between the brand and the customer being increasingly intermediated by technology, small and medium-sized companies need to learn to take advantage of all the information they capture (and will still capture) from their consumers. These data are extremely rich and an inexhaustible source of knowledge that will help the entrepreneur to get to know his client better and make the best business decisions. The right information, at the right time, supports companies to have a competitive advantage, regardless of their size.

Artificial intelligence (AI) must also be considered, as embedded technology, to deal with the increasing volumes of data and humanly impossible to track and process. Automated service agents and digital assistants, for example, will be able to solve a simple customer question perfectly, with the advantage of being available 24 hours, seven days a week. In addition, it speeds up the service, since it is scalable and frees the human agent to deal with more sensitive problems of customers.

Understanding the benefits of Big Data and using them to your advantage, requires SMEs to also understand the General Data Protection Act (LGPD). With everything increasingly available in the cloud, it will definitely be necessary to strengthen the technologies that protect information so that no unwanted leaks happen. Data security is an item that also appears as one of the main trends within the IT area for this year. According to the study IDC Brazil forecasts for 2021, only 50% of Brazilian companies say they are in the final stretch of compliance with the law.

If you are one of the millions of small Brazilian entrepreneurs, responsible for generating 55% of formal jobs in the country, and you want your business to prosper, start to take seriously the data that your company generates, especially those of your customers. The process of collecting, analyzing and interpreting information for SMEs was slower compared to larger companies, but Covid arrived and changed everything. On the internet, the small merchant competes with a large company and that is why understanding the customer's profile, preferences and purchasing journey are fundamental inputs to provide a better shopping experience and relationship with the brand. Customer service has become one of the biggest competitive advantages of a company and data, its most important asset.