The term “Big Data” reached a trendy point, when everyone tries to put it on a product. Similarly how food companies strap “100% Natural” to everything. For a very long while, the entire field of Big Data was primarily occupied by large companies, which had such massive data sets that internal analysis of things, like customer behavior patterns, could no longer be possible. As a result, the demand for highly sophisticated analytics tools emerged.
SMB-types companies were mostly left behind and discredited. After all, why would you be using big data in a small business? Moreover, running a Big Data Analytics in the past required substantial resources in form of IT specialists and data scientists and expensive software itself. So, consequently, many small companies are still in the early stages of digital transformation, utilizing outdated methods of data acquisition and analysis.
However, as the technology became more and more accessible in the past couple of years Big Data and knowledge management in small business are starting to become a standard practice.
Jumping on a Big Data Train
Every one of us produces some sort of digital data, virtually all the time. Every email sent or opened every like, every tweet, every purchase we make leaves a digital footprint. This chaotic information can actually give incredible insights into what kind of customers we all are.
Naturally, companies want to gain these insights to better target their audience. The gold rush, if you may, towards making sense of this information and boost sales is what essentially driving the Big Data. And while most of the talk surrounding this field is centered around enterprise solutions, there’s an excellent opportunity for small business to benefit from.
Challenges of Small Business
First and foremost the most significant challenge that any small company faces when utilizing any analytics tools is small sample size. You probably don’t have a vast enough customer base. In order to nullify any random errors, you need to have a large enough data pool to extract valuable insights. Otherwise, you may as well end up building a business model based on incomplete or wrong intelligence.
Additionally, small companies also don’t have enough historical data to analyze their performance dynamic. Either due to being a relatively young player on the market or due to the late adoption of digital tools.
How to Get Started in Big Data for Small Business
Despite these genuine challenges, there are still ways a small business can start with complex analytics and make sense of digital information. Plus, as your customer base keeps growing you, most probably, will have to turn to Big Data analytics, merely to stay competitive and maintain steady growth. So it’s much better to start early and collect a larger sample size across a greater timeline.
Continuous cloud integration
Cloud-based solutions allowed many companies to create a uniform and synced IT infrastructure that shares various data set between multiple integration points. Applications like CRM platforms, project management apps, file storage, DMS (document management systems), emails and more can all be part of a more extensive corporate system.
When previously corporations spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in hardware to achieve this result, today virtually anyone can get a cloud-service subscription and for very little investment.
One of the largest mistakes that small companies make after they establish infrastructure is using advanced analytics to assess the market and learn everything. Just because you’ve created a single database that pools information from multiple sources doesn’t mean that your sample size is sufficient enough to justify delving into exhaustive research.
Even giant enterprises don’t always pay data scientists for a general overview of the market, in hopes that it will uncover some valuable piece of information.
Define the goals you want to meet when running analytics projects first and never go in blind! It’s important to be open-minded though because the results might actually upset you. Leverage your workflow with Big Data to improve upon the weak spots first.
Hire someone, who’s good with numbers
Every superhero team needs a tech genius and every business needs a number guy. Of course in reality, unlike movies and comic books, these people bear little resemblance to Tony Stark, but you are not living in a fantasy world. Data mining and analysis involve incredibly complicated math that not everyone excels at.
Alright, now that you’ve assembled a cloud infrastructure, identified major pain-points and found your numbers-guy, you are ready to launch the first iteration. And this is where your small business has an upper hand actually, when compared to big players.
Although it’s true that large companies have more data experts and greater data pools, they are getting impaired quickly when it comes acting fast. Even the top IT professionals can get tangled in red tape. Waiting for five approvals and reviews from a CEO, who then need to consult with CTO can be of great detriment. Especially, when you consider the fact that Big Data analytics involves a lot of real-time processing and gives insights into what incremental changes need to be done right here and now.
Small business, on the other hand, can just give a green light and run many consequential iterations, always adjusting to customer demand.
Big Data Solutions for Small Businesses by OMI
With customers becoming more and more picky market and more companies accessing the Big Data technology, your business will need to stay competitive, if you wish to stay in the game. At OMI we are specializing in creating stellar cloud-based platforms for SMB-type companies.
With our expertise at your side, you can implement a one-of-a-kind cost-efficient Big Data & Business Intelligence solution that will leverage your existing IT assets and bring a new realm of business opportunities.