Big data for small businesses: does it matter?

Accessing, collating and translating big data for small businesses used to daunting. Without the right processes, they were left scrambling through their systems to find relevant data. Then, once they found it, they’d struggle to tell a meaningful story with it. Today, it’s a completely different game.

Data is at the forefront of everyone’s conversation, largely because it’s so accessible for a business (no matter their size). But also, because of the privacy changes and GDPR regulations, not to mention the sheer amount we’re creating (which is going to be at 50 zettabytes by 2020 – we’re currently at 5 zettabytes), the use of words such as ‘data’ and ‘the cloud’ can intimidate smaller companies, especially if they’re not technologically savvy. But don’t let these terms threaten you. In fact, we have a helpful article all about becoming data savvy even if you’re not tech savvy right here.

Just because we talk about something a lot (and because it’s in the press a lot) does that make it essential for small businesses? It’s easy to write off big data as an SMB because it seems like a topic that wouldn’t affect you.

But that’s where you’re wrong. Bear with us a few minutes and we’ll tell you why.

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Make higher-quality decisions

Getting more informed and making better business decisions is only going to help your company grow and succeed. When you can gather the right data, you can answer critical business questions with greater speed and efficiency. But before you begin determining what data you need, ask yourself this key question: what do you need to know to achieve your strategic goals?

Once you know what data will drive your strategy, the focus should then be on making sure there is widespread access across your company, so everyone can use it for better ‘fact-based’ decision making. The reality is, understanding data is a business-wide concern; it’s not just for top-level strategic decision makers. Everyone in the business should be using data to manage their decision-making processes.

Your customers are a big ball of data waiting to be analysed

If you really want to crack the enigma of your customers, then big data is the way to go. Businesses who are using big data to harness customer information are making smarter, faster and better-informed decisions. When your business can leverage your customer insight, you can better understand what they’re interested in.

Through data’s objective lens you can go from thinking to knowing about customer behaviour, and use this to your advantage. For example, it enables you to spot more consumer trends and market opportunities. But the best bit is that you don’t even have to think about mining your own data, because you can utilise platforms like Google, Facebook and Twitter for all your informational needs.

Improve your internal operations

Data can affect even the smallest of internal processes, it can help things run smoothly and efficiently. From the warehouse (if you have one) to your customer service and sales processes, big data helps to improve quality control, eliminate wastage and drive continuous improvement within your organisation. A key aspect for any business that data can really help with is fraud detection and prevention, which is a crucial concern to the success or failure of a business.

There has never been a better time for you to start building your business’s data strategy. With nearly 81 percent of businesses in the UK adopting big data and an abundance of platforms that makes collecting big data extremely simple, like Microsoft Azure, AWS and even Google Cloud what are you waiting for? And can you really afford to miss out?

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