Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Data Analytics and Small Business

As big data and predictive analytics become more mainstream, more and more small businesses are realizing that this is an important decision making tool that can help give them a competitive advantage. Big data and analytics have generally been thought of a a big business solution only, but with the rise of social media and more affordable and user friendly software and services, data analytics is affordable for most any size business.

Small businesses can start exploiting many of the same data points that the corporate behemoths have at their fingertips to uncover patterns and relationships that were previously too costly to extract.

Larger companies that have larger datasets seem like ripe candidates for Big Data, but in many of these organizations their data are scattered across a wide variety of systems and platforms-and along with larger budgets and superior infrastructure come dramatically increased data quality issues. Smaller companies often have data that are more consolidated and, in some cases, have designed their systems and processes to generate and capture cleaner data.

It’s generally easier to institute new processes and procedures in a small organization, and make and execute rapid decisions based on data, than it is in most large organizations. For many smaller businesses, competing on speed has been a go-to tactic against larger competitors. While the industry giant is crafting RFPs for their multi-million dollar Big Data infrastructure, the small competitor can be using open-source and cloud-based tools to perform more rudimentary analysis, but be acting on the results before a larger competitor even has their project approved.

It is Easy to Get Started

The data expert offered some tips for the small businesses looking to begin a data analytics strategy.

  • These companies should establish a digital channel by creating a website and a social media presence. Many companies are able to gain consumer insights from mining data generated by customers on social websites like Facebook and Twitter. Developing this online presence will be the first step to creating a data strategy.
  • Next step will be to adopt a business analytics system that will mine the data the small company collects to help decision makers use it to drive growth. This solution should make sense for the size of the company and be easy for employees to use.
  • The goal is to capture, sort and analyze relevant data from as many sources, and in as close to real time as possible.

Start Now!

Analytics professionals say big data is here to stay, and it will only prove to be more important for business success.

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