Big Data and Small Business: Tips for Success

October 20, 2014

10:30 am

Many small businesses assume that they don’t have access to, or the ability to manage, big data. However, big data is not a resource limited to the enterprise. Using big data to enhance business operations and opportunities is something your competitors may already be taking advantage of to gain the upper hand. Small business owners who have started to understand the value of big data recognize the opportunities to improve customer relationships and uncover valuable insights to improve ROI.

Big data gives small businesses a chance to tailor products and services to individual customers by providing detailed customer reports without having to have in-person conversations with customers due to digital footprints they leave behind on the Internet. In other words, big data appropriately used will level the playing field for small businesses trying to keep up with the large budgets of big business.

Specialization Shouldn’t be Needed

Big data solutions chosen by small business owners should be easy to deploy and use and take only a few days or weeks for a company to start using it. Look for a fully managed service with all of the tools from Presto to Hadoop Hive that acts more as a plug-and-play technology than a traditional database that takes time to build, deploy and maintain.

Selecting the right solution will mean a small business owner will not have to hire a data scientist if the company doesn’t already employ one or more.

It All Comes Down to Money

Finding the right solution for small businesses can be difficult since cost is a concern in running a profitable enterprise. Customers need to recognize they should only pay for the capabilities they need and create a strategy to start small and scale up if needed.

Understanding the needs of your enterprise is key to knowing which services will help them rise to the next level of big data management and higher revenue. Using the right data management tools will enable small business owners to improve pricing, find cheaper suppliers closer to their location and offer more price transparency.

Recognize that the problem of anticipating and managing cost is more pronounced in complex and dynamic big data environments where compute and storage costs are difficult to understand and multiple variables must be considered.

Conclusion

With the right strategy and solution in place, big data is affordable and manageable for the small business owner. Startups, like Uber, have proven the competitive advantage big data has to offer, so before dismissing big data, consider the opportunities you could be missing out on.

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Gil Allouche is the Vice President of Marketing at Qubole. Gil began his marketing career as a product strategist at SAP while earning his MBA at Babson College and is a former software engineer.

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