Barclays has launched an online service to help small and medium businesses glean insights and usable information from big data.
The SmartBusiness service is designed to aid the analysis of transactional data collected by SMBs and to measure their performance against similar businesses in the region.
SMBs will be able to spot trends in cash flow, and see information on average customer spend and whether payments are made by cash, debit card or cheque.
Companies with a Barclaycard terminal will also be able to analyse data on customer behaviour and spending patterns.
Barclays claimed that such insights could help SMBs design loyalty or reward schemes by having an easy to read summary of customer visits and spending.
Peter Simon, head of information at Barclays, told V3 that SmartBusiness is built on a Hadoop stack with an in-house app to access the data.
The system allows SMBs to make informed decisions, rather than relying on instinct or intuition, and to capitalise on opportunities in their market sector.
“It’s not so much about playing them back the data they get, but playing it back in a way that helps them take action,” he said.
SmartBusiness was piloted for a year so that Barclays could refine the interface and provide data that is easy to understand and does not require large amounts of time to analyse.
The service costs £4.95 a month and will be offered to over 500,000 business customers through Barclays' online banking service from May.
The bank’s move shows the importance of data crunching in keeping companies competitive.
Simon explained that this is part of Barclays’ efforts to be at the vanguard of big data in the banking and business worlds, and to provide useful data to its customers.
“We’re at the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution that’s fundamentally data driven. What we’re trying to do is give that [data] straight back to our customers,” he said.
Simon added that helping smaller businesses to grow benefits Barclays by developing deeper relationships with its customers.
It is also indicative of the digital transformation going on at companies large and small using technology and services to augment and overhaul business processes.
Barclays recently introduced a key fob, sticker and wristband to facilitate new forms of digital payment.
The company also worked with Hitachi to create a vein scanner as a form of biometric payment security beyond that of fingerprint scanners.
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