By: Markus Witcomb
Real Time Analytics
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Big data has been trending in the business world for quite a long time now. However, many people associate big data with large businesses. You will rarely hear people talking about whether it has value for small businesses.
Big data is a term that describes the large volume of data – both structured and unstructured – that inundates a business on a day-to-day basis.
Small businesses should not fear to use big data to improve their operations and gain a competitive advantage over others.
Here are reasons why small business owners should adopt it.
Businesses can use information retrieved from big repositories to optimize their production processes and daily operations. Business processes that generate data, such as production machinery, sensors on delivery vehicles and customer ordering systems, can provide great insights on improvements and efficiency.
Organizations can connect their production tools and ensure that they constantly provide feedback to the data center. The individuals at the data center can then analyze the information collected to gain real-time visibility into the daily operations operations of the business. They can identify areas that need improvement from the analytics and come up with an effective course of action.
Predicting trends was mainly done through guesswork until big data surfaced. Today, both small and large businesses can accurately predict new trends based on the analysis of loads of information available on the internet and local repositories. The management and the marketing team can now spot and monitor behaviours that allow them to predict where things are heading. This includes how the demand for products and services will change over time and the factors that will prompt that change. Through analytic tools, online and offline customer behaviour can now be measured to microscopic details for more insights. Companies like Facebook and Twitter have even put up mechanisms that collate trend data and use it to answer specific questions for businesses.
Many small businesses check and measure competition through industry gossips and looking at websites. Others go as far as pretending to be customers to see what their competitors are doing. This trend is expected to experience a drastic shift as big data finds its way into the operation structures of small businesses. Through financial data, small businesses can gain insights on the popularity of brands and products. Companies can take advantage of Google Trends to view the list of companies and products that are currently doing well in their industries. Social media platforms also show information about digital business and what customers are saying. Small business executives do not have to leave their desks to find out what their competitors are doing.
There are a wide variety of information from various sources that increase exponentially online. Small businesses can use such information to identify risks and opportunities of emerging technologies and processes. They can then come up with effective financial risk management techniques to provide efficient and sustainable services. Through big data analysis, managers can develop powerful risk prediction models, respond faster, expand risk coverage and come up with cost-saving plans. Big data can help in fraud identification, credit card management and operational risk prevention.
Small businesses can use big data as part of their business models. This will lead to exciting new ways of generating quality leads and revenues. The business can capitalize on the huge amount of data it receives to develop its marketing plans. It can also sell the data to other businesses, generating revenue in the process. There are many opportunities available for businesses to monetize their data and provide valuable services to their clients.
Big data analytics in small businesses is something managers cannot afford to ignore. All small businesses should develop big data strategies to identify various opportunities and threats that are facing the industry. They can start by simply using all the data produced by people and big companies to gain new insights.
QAIST have worked with a number of small businesses to harvest data from various sources into one single repository to provide data analytical dashboards that sit as a layer above the data. This allows you to chop and change data in the dashboard to provide you with different types of analytical views without interfering with the underlying operational data.