A Case Study on the Impact of Big Data Innovation in Small and Medium Enterprise’s Competitive Advantage

Internal advisor: Prof. Dr. Klaus Turowski, Prudhvilatha Dandu

Small and Medium enterprises (SMEs) that act as a key source of today’s world economy have more impact of technological changes than large organizations due to their simple structure and flexibility that make them to be more innovative. Today, very huge volumes of data are being generated from different data sources in a wide variety with relatively high velocity which is termed as Big-data [1]. Considering these characteristics, there is an immense need for managing, processing and analyzing this Big-data in real-time to create value out of structured and unstructured data that particularly helps SMEs in staying ahead of their competitors. Analyzing Big-data using In-memory technology is being deployed by many top IT vendors and SAP HANA is one among those which provides several advantages like low latency, high performance & scalability, real-time processing, and so on.

The main question that is more often being highlighted recently is ‘How SMEs can benefit from Big-data innovation such as in-memory analytics in terms of competitive advantage?’ For this, an explanatory case study research in accordance with Robert K.Yin’s case study methodology [2] has been performed where two cases of SMEs from sales and manufacturing sectors that use SAP HANA as their Big-data analytics platform are examined based on the hypotheses made from linking several available strategies and theories [3][4]. Finally four factors namely productivity, decision making, response time and customer retention have been derived out of which former three have been determined as more influential factors on SME’s  competitive advantage. And the latter one, customer retention requires more precise ways of performing advanced data analytics which needs to be optimized and prioritized in SMEs in the future.


1.      O’Reilly Media. (Sep 2011). Big Data Now. California. First Edition.

2.      Yin, R.K. (2009). Case Study Research: Design and Methods: Fourth Edition. Applied Social Research Methods Series (Volume 5).SAGE Publications, California.

3.      Sultan, S.S. (2007). The Competitive Advantage of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises: The Case of Jordan’s Natural Stone Industry. ISBN 978 90 5278 642 1. Maastricht.

4.      Mouthaan,N. (2012). Effects OF Big Data Analytics on Organization’s Value Creation. Masters, University of Amsterdam.