Leveraging Big Data in a Small Business

Small Business Newspaper Headline Report Spinning 3d IllustrationIt’s no secret that big data is a loaded concept that requires a great deal of unpacking to understand and utilize correctly. Despite the grandeur of the term itself, no business is too small for big data.

A recent survey reports that 35 percent of start-ups do not even consider delving into big data (http://bit.ly/2hXP48x) – a potentially damaging decision for a company to make. There is an abundant amount of useful information out in the cyber sphere that is just waiting to be scooped up and analyzed by organisations. Furthermore, big data solutions are now available that are more varied and cheaper than ever.

Read on to discover how to encourage business growth by leveraging big data in small businesses, while keeping costs down and getting the most out of this exponentially growing opportunity.

What Exactly is Big Data?

Big data is a tool that aids companies in analyzing large amounts of data relevant to their business, which then allows them to make decisions based on these insights. The type of data is essentially limitless: purchase history, social media use, and many other consumer details all apply to the term. The combination of this information can lead to great business value once you organize, analyze and use it to your advantage.

How does Big Data Allow you to Gain Competitive Advantage?

According to studies, most companies estimate they’re only analyzing a tiny portion of the big data available to them; a paltry 12%, in fact (http://ubm.io/1pTCS2v). This statistic points to the fact that those who examine the big data available to them will have a competitive advantage in comparison to others in their industry.

Where do you find Big Data?

While larger companies can invest in useful, yet expensive data mining tools, smaller businesses generally must consider budget when deciding how to collect big data. Luckily, there are plenty of cost-conscious ways to garner this information through social media platforms, other programs, and online databases.

Here are some of the most helpful sources of big data:

  1. Facebook Insights
  2. Twitter Stats
  3. LinkedIn Analytics
  4. Google Analytics
  5. Online Databases

As you can see, social media platforms are especially favorable in this capacity, so having a strong presence online will improve your chances of getting rich data out of these kinds of sources. Facebook allows you to track how your target community is interacting with your business posts, Twitter lets you view multiple statistics for individual tweets and your overall account, and LinkedIn gives you the chance to view the metrics and trends of your company page.

Additionally, huge datasets are available online listing everything from demographics to consumer spending habits. The best part is, these tools are freely available if you know where to look.

While these platforms are a good starting point for gathering data, affordable software also exists that aids users in tapping into big data. When social media and other online platforms do not deliver enough of the data you need, data mining software is always an option.

Data Collected, Now What?

Once your data is collected, it must be organized in a way that makes sense for your company to analyze. Then you can gauge what data is pertinent for your business and transform it into useable insights that enhance the future of your company.

These insights will allow you to get a better idea of the needs of your customers, predict their behavior, recognize opportunities, and experience overall superior decision making. It is crucial to get into the habit of using these data insights and creating a culture where data becomes part of the discussion whilst making business decisions.

What can help you get the most out of Big Data?

To organize this big data and budget the financial decisions that result, businesses can consider financial planning or budgeting software to help ease the load. This approach is especially useful for growing small businesses where it is critical for the cost and capabilities of investments to align with the rate of growth and expansion of operations.

Transitioning into an analytics-driven company can be a challenge and having the right tools at your disposal can significantly help when attempting to benefit from the big data explosion.

We are still only at the beginning of the tech sphere’s journey with big data. The concept will only expand and flourish in the future (i.e. a 50-fold increase of 40 zettabytes from 2010 by 2020!), but it is certainly wise to get a head start on how to use it effectively in the present.

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About Mariya Zarembo

Mariya Zarembo is the Marketing Communications Assistant for Agilyx, a full-service ERP software provider for medium to large businesses in Australia, New Zealand, North America and Singapore. She has a strong background in marketing, event planning and public relations with extensive experience in writing, social media, and brand awareness, all of which she utilzses in her position at Agilyx in Sydney, Australia.

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