Small business owners: It’s time to meet big data

February 13th, 2013


Here’s a quick quiz for owners of small companies. Do you know what big data is? You might have read about it. You’ve probably even read that businesses who study big data use it to forge a more powerful relationship with customers and gain an edge over their rivals. But as a small business owner you’re busy. With all the things on your plate, though, this doesn’t mean you should overlook big data, and here’s why:

Defining Big Data

What is big data? John Weathington, writing for the Tech Republic blog, does an excellent job explaining: Big data, as the name suggests, are massive amounts of fast-moving information. This information is free, but serves a valuable purpose in the marketplace. Big data, if properly mined and studied, will tell you what your target customers want, what they lack and how much they’re prepared to pay to have it. In short, big data can make big impacts in the way you run your small business.

Big Data In Action

Big data gives businesses, even small ones, a competitive advantage. CIO Magazine provides three examples. The magazine cites a financial company that uses large financial data sets and data analytics tools to help their clients decide how to best plan their retirements. This, needless to say, gives this financial firm an edge in attracting clients.

Exmobaby uses big data to attract parents who would like their babies to be as healthy and well as possible. The company sells pajamas that come with built-in sensors. These sensors monitor the babies wearing the pajamas and sends health information in real time to parents. Now is that the same kind of zealous parenting you or I enjoyed? Probably not, but it’s not hard to see how big health data sets help this company attract the business of anxious parents.

Finally, the CIO story cites Parchment. This business analyzes such education information as grade point averages, SAT scores and college acceptance data to help students apply for those colleges which are most likely to accept them. By making use of big sets of data in order to save their clients both time and frustration, Parchment is able to steadily build its client base.