Big Data 101

What is big data? Even if you are familiar with it, you might have a hard time explaining exactly what it means. So let’s put it in the simplest terms possible. Big data involves collecting information, or data, from consumers and then using that information to find the best ways to connect with those consumers.

One of the biggest challenges when it comes to big data is how to store the massive amount of collected information until it can be analyzed. The correct type of data storage will be able to handle a large amount of information and ensure that it remains easily accessible. In the case of most small businesses, a traditional IT department is able to do the job.

Once data, or information, has been gleaned from things like social media, purchasing information, comment boards, surveys, and more, a company needs to decide what pieces of information they want to use. Maybe they want data that tells what products and services are the most popular with their customers. Maybe they want to generate more sales leads. Or maybe they want to know in what areas they need to improve customer service.

Big data can be a treasure trove of information. However, quality is always more important than quantity. Once you glean the pertinent information from all the data that you have collected, you can begin to carefully decipher that information. Finally, you use that deciphered information to build a strategy to reach your particular goal.

Many people mistakenly believe that if they haven’t yet begun collecting and using data, it is too late. This is not the case, however. It’s never too late to begin collecting data. That doesn’t mean you should wait, though. The sooner you begin using the data created by online activity, the sooner you can give your target audience what they want – and make your business more successful. In fact, experts tell us that businesses that don’t have data strategies in place are less profitable than those that do. What’s more, companies that use big data are five times more likely to exceed expectations for their projects.

Although small business owners may get overwhelmed with big data, they need to learn to gather and use it to their advantage. By properly sorting and analyzing this data, they have a tremendous opportunity to identify, capture, and assimilate bits of information that can help improve their business.