What Can Big Data Do For A Small Business?

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The goal of any business, big or small is to improve sales and profitability. The goal of any big data effort is to improve business. However complex big data may sound, if used correctly, small businesses can gain many insights and use it to make smart and intelligent decisions.

There are several key advantages for small businesses that use big data. They can use it to identify key customers and improve their service to them. They can understand customer patterns, know when they’re likely to come in and reward them for multiple visits. This is also known as Loyalty Analytics. Whether one is in health care or the service industry, there is a wide scope of applying big data analytics. All it takes is creatively asking the right kind of questions that the data can answer. More or less data and analytics tools have been long used. While the analytical approach remains the same, what adds in with Big data is the use of adequateand more sophisticated technology.

As data grows, so do the IT requirements. The challenge is to meet the gap of the business need and the IT infrastructure. To use Big Data smartly, the first requirement is to design the scope and objective of the analytics projects at hand. Based on the objective, the relevant data can be obtained. For example – Humungous amount of data can be generated at the customer transaction level. But suppose the business objective is to focus on customers in a certain geography, one has to think about how to filter the data to address the business problem.

Big Data technology uses Hadoop and Mapreduce which is great but very expensive and not needed for small or mid- size businesses. Always keep an eye on the business objective before any investment is made purely based on price or hype. In most cases, we think about leveraging information management technologies like data integration and data quality to prepare data for analytics. Although this is certainly an important step, the biggest differentiator will be how business analytics can be applied to determine what to do with your organizational data, determine which data is relevant, and how or whether data should be stored.  While there is a lot of data, obtaining resources with the right kind of skills is a growing challenge. Some level of interaction and training within teams may also help in building skills relevant to generate business insights from big data.

These days an increasing number of small businesses are collecting and crunching volumes of data to lift their sales.  There are many insights one can generate using Google Analytics for analysing web traffic, Facebook Insights, SumAll, etc. These tools are all easily available. The CRM tool collects all kinds of data which enables businesses to enhance user experience. Salesforce is a commonly used CRM platform.

As big data grows and analytic tools become more affordable, small business must leverage from the big data movement. It’s time to look beyond what is a common belief that big data can only benefit large businesses. Small businesses that utilize big data will have a stronger understanding of their target markets and will be able to better cater to customers’ demand. Big data is a valuable asset for businesses of all size.


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