The growing abundance of new technologies available to businesses is allowing smaller players to disrupt the established market leaders.

So, how are Australian businesses investing in technology to give them an edge in local and global markets? I explore the weapons available to smaller businesses through business intelligence and data.

Traditionally data warehouses do not contain today's data.

They are usually loaded with data via an Extract, Transform and Load (ETL) process from operational systems on a periodic basis, often nightly, but sometimes even weekly. In any case, they are a window on the past.

With the ever-growing pace of business today, are these history-based analytical data sources providing the right insights when they are most needed?

Technology is transforming the manufacturing sector. According to GE Capital's latest Mid-Market Report, technology is a $78.8 billion industry in Australia.

Manufacturing makes up roughly 40 per cent, or $31.2 billion of that figure. What this indicates is that manufacturers are increasingly embracing technology.

With this in mind, let's take a look at five of the key technology trends influencing the Australian manufacturing landscape.

I had the opportunity to attend the Gartner Business Intelligence Summit last month in Sydney. The two day event offered a great insight into the challenges that many Australian businesses face on their path to BI fulfilment. There were lots of roundtables, 1:1 meetings, presentations and networking opportunities to talk with others about things we can all do to get better adoption, utilisation and benefits from the tools that many of us have invested a lot of money in. It was a great event – and one that I’d recommend you check out next year.

Technology and data offer great insights into business; and mining information provides us with products and services we could only dream about a few years ago.

It was never so obvious to me than having to drive in a new city in one of my recent business trips. Without Google Maps, it would have been much harder. This type of application is only possible through massive collection of data, big data.

As a small and medium business, what is the first step in your journey to leverage technology and data?

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