The Big Questions About Big Data

To a business owner, the term “big data” can have a wide variety of definitions. It can represent massive amounts of unstructured information from a range of different sources, or just large volumes of consumer behaviour data. For some inexperienced entrepreneurs though, it’s one big question mark! In this post, we’ll be answering three of the most important questions small business owners may have about big data.

What Exactly is “Big Data”?

These days, information is moving through different platforms in a larger volume, velocity, and variety than ever before. All of this data falls under title of “big data”. To give you an idea of how “big” big data is, around ninety percent of all the data stored on modern computers was created since 2011. This all started when automated systems became involved, and began gathering countless amounts of data every day, from smartphones, machinery sensors, and every little click we make with our computers. Converting all this data into accessible and manageable reports has become a massive talking point in the global business arena in recent years, and given rise to service niches like SQL server business intelligence. These days, it’s almost a necessity for modern businesses to be making this process a priority.

How Do I Take Advantage of It?

 

photo credit: Max Pixel

There are a lot of different answers to this question, depending on the size of the business, its industry and major objectives. However, any company that’s trying to make the most of big data should ultimately be striving towards being constantly in the loop. If you’re able to draw information from data-logging sensors, you can distil that knowledge into prompt, smart decisions, and trigger the right actions at the right time. Gathering and cataloguing data used to be all about seeing what happened in the past. Now, it’s all about what’s happening in the here and now. Focusing your big data resources on this will allow you to fine-tune your marketing to the right audience, improve the standard of service you’re giving your customers, reduce operating costs and save a lot of time. It can take some doing to get big data to mesh with your existing business, but once you do, the possibilities really are endless.

Where Do I Get This Data?

First and foremost, you have to pin down the data you already have, and the data you’d like to have. This should cover all your spreadsheets and SaaS applications, along with sales receipts, partner information, and any other methods you have for gathering data. From there, you should connect sets together to form more timely and valuable insights. One of the best ways to do this is focussing on something specific you want to achieve, for example, improving the sales on Fridays. By having these kind of specific goals, you’ll be able to zoom in on the data sets you’ll need to gather. Once you’ve identified and gathered, let’s say, online sales and social media posts, you can automate these processes as much as possible, minimising your company’s reaction time.

 

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