How Small Businesses Can Make Use Of Big Data – And Beat The Competition

You may have heard the term "big data" quite a bit in recent months and years – and you may not be sure what it is, what it means, or if it has any relevance to your small business.
Only about 23% of all enterprises have a big data strategy – and for companies who are smaller, and classified as "Small-to-medium enterprises" (SMEs), the number is even lower. So, if you adopt big data in your business, you're sure to be able to gain a competitive edge – among other small businesses, and even among some enterprise companies, who do not yet have a big data system in place.
In this article, we'll take a look at what big data is, explain its importance, and discuss some of the ways that you can use big data in your small business.

What Is "Big Data?" Understanding The "3 Vs"
In a basic sense, big data is exactly what it sounds like – the collection of a large volume of data, which can be used to gain insights about your company, your customers, your products, your operations, and so forth.
However, the size of a dataset is not the only thing that's important when defining big data. In fact, there are 3 "Vs" that define a big data strategy.

Volume – This refers to the volume of data collected from a variety of sources, which is compiled and stored in an easily accessible data set, usually using data warehousing and a system like Hadoop.
Velocity – This refers to the speed at which data is collected – and also the speed at which it's organized and interpreted. In a big data strategy, the data you collect must be dealt with and stored in a timely manner, to ensure the integrity of your datasets.
Variety – This refers to the usage of big data tools to collect data from a variety of sources. Rather than just focusing on a single source of data, you want to collect as much (relevant) data as possible – from as many sources as possible.

Together, the Volume of data collected, the Velocity at which it's processed, and the Variety of data gathered combine to form the basis of a big data strategy.

Why Does Big Data Matter?
It matters because our world has more data than ever before. By 2020, there will be more than 50 billion smart devices in our world. 90% of the world's data has been created in the last two years alone – and most companies only analyze around about 27% of the data that they collect. 79% of enterprise executives say that big data is "critical" to maintain a competitive position in the market.
By focusing on big data and using the information your business gathers to your benefit, you can outperform companies who are not making use of this information – and boost your profits.

How Can Big Data Be Used In My Small Business?
Still not sure how you can adopt a big data-focused strategy in your small business? Here are a few examples of how big data and business analytics can be used in your company – no matter what size it is!

Learn more about your customers – Using tools like Google Analytics, you can track a customer's online behavior, demographics, and more when they visit your website – and by storing this information and examining it using Business Intelligence tools, you can develop a more informed, accurate buyer persona – and use this information to market your services and products more effectively.
Analyze social media mentions – Trawling social media for mentions about your products, your company, and other such information is a good way to learn more about how you're perceived – and can help you improve your brand, responsiveness to mentions, and online presence.
Track sales performance – By analyzing customer purchases, both online and in-store, you can understand when you're bringing in the most (and the least) traffic, and make marketing and merchandising decisions – such as having a special sale during your slowest week – to improve your performance.

Use Big Data To Your Benefit – Explore Your Options Now!
If you're interested in learning more about the benefits of big data and how it can be used in your small business, please contact us. We're experts when it comes to big data – and can help you implement a big data-focused strategy in your company. Get started with Emergotech today!

March 18th, 2019 - 4 min read

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