The volume of data is expanding now more than ever; an IDC Digital Universe study” projects that by the end of the decade, about 1.7 MB of new data will be created every second for every individual on the planet. Furthermore, our accumulated digital universe of information will grow ten times in the next five years – from 4.4 zettabytes today, to more than 44 zettabytes by the years 2020. This growth will pose a challenge for companies everywhere in terms of securing, analyzing and managing unprocessed data.
Big Data is nothing new, big enterprises have reaped the benefits of it for decades. However, startups had the lack of expertise, knowledge and financial resources to exploit it in the past. Moreover, no one can deny the importance of SMBs to the U.S. economy – more than 5o percent of the working population in the United States (more than 120 million people) works in a small business. Therefore, in order to keep up with their big-league counterparts, small businesses and startups are implementing big data solutions into their marketing and sales tactics.
Advantages for Small Business
Surprisingly, small companies and startups may have an advantage over big corporations when it comes to data processing. In most cases, SMBs are faced with a significantly smaller universe of queries and are able to focus on precise problems. In addition, even the most powerful insights are worthless if your company is not agile enough to act on them at the right time. While big companies have the financial backing, smaller establishments have the agility to act on data-derived insights with speed and efficiency.
During the last year’s Parliament and Internet conference, Kirstin Gillon, technical manager at the Institute of Chartered Accountants, pointed out that SMBs need to understand that data analysis is not just about volume, but variety. If your business has operated for more than a year, you probably have a load of big data sitting somewhere in your records. By pulling information about sales, promotions and website traffic together, you will be taking the first step toward analyzing the big data accessible to your business.
Big Data Solutions
If you know where to look, you can find huge databases on everything from demographics to customer spending habits freely available on the internet. In addition, thanks to the recent developments in technology, the basic tools to make sense of this information are becoming more cost-effective and easy to use than ever. Also, thanks to the rise of cloud-based storage, storing large amounts of data is now cheaper than in the past.
There are many suppliers out there, from big names such as IBM and SAS to smaller companies like Tranzlogic and Qualtrics, so you can find the right solution for your company. With business intelligence software like Panorama Necto, you can connect multiple data sources with just a few clicks. With Geo-analytics features, you can use online maps to drill down data, and get information on sales or revenue in a specific location. Of course, you could always start with something simple like Google Analytics and move onto other BI providers later on.
The Impact on Team Mentality
Definitely, the most surprising result of big data is the way it influences the team mentality in small firms. With the ability to make better conclusions and get a better understanding of their clients, workers have a much better idea of how to do their jobs. A 2013 study published in the International Small Business Journal revealed that exposure to data encourages owners to share insights with employees and get them more involved with competitive decision-making.
Perhaps the biggest difficulty SMBs and startups face with big data is making the decision to try it out and then getting started. More than 70 percent of organizations have already invested big data solutions according to a survey from Gartner, so you have to jump on the bandwagon as soon as you can. Small to medium-sized companies are no longer excluded out of taking advantage of information because of their size. Whatever the market, company size or business branch, businesses of all sizes can benefit from leveraging big data.