Ever heard the phrase " Small is Beautiful"? well that holds true when referring to my 3 years old Cousin "Toyosi", but you know what else it could be true about? Small and Medium sized businesses using Big Data Analytics techniques in better understanding and targeting their customers.
In the Past 2-3 years, the term "Big data" has been making the rounds among C-level execs and "a few of us"... lol but beyond all the Hype and grandeur, its really just large volume of data collected in real time for the purpose of analysis, Big data analytics is the process of examining large amounts of data of a variety of types (big data) to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations and other useful information. Such information can provide competitive advantages over rival organizations and result in business benefits, such as more effective marketing and increased revenue.
That said, then you'd agree with me that:
The collection of e-stores' visitors' shopping cart trends....is big data
A fruit juice company could collect ages of people who buy the product from a particular region....the result...big data.
or more realisticallty/practically:
A heartbeat monitor could be placed on Lionel Messi's heart to collect heart rate data in real time...which over time could be mined and correlated to be able to predict when he's in top form....the result...big data
Mouse clicks and momentary movements of visitors on a site could be monitored and collected in real-time for an e-commerce site to be able to predict the average transaction duration which might be in someway related to how the company plans for infrastructure growth...
i could go on and on..........
However, with this level of data collection and real-time monitoring required for Big data Analytics also comes the need for an elastic compute infrastructure model which is ASSUMED to be a luxury for just Larger companies that have larger data sets seem like ripe candidates for Big Data, but in many of these organizations their data are scattered across a wide variety of systems and platforms-and along with larger budgets and superior infrastructure come dramatically increased data quality issues. Smaller companies often have data that are more consolidated and, in some cases, have designed their systems and processes to generate and capture cleaner data.
At least half the battle of generating intelligence from data is having readily available data to begin with, so while your smaller organization might not be able to afford a massive Big Data initiative, you can start deriving actionable information from your data while the big competitor is still cleaning and consolidating.
A statement written by Techrepublic recently and rightly says:
"...like ERP, CRM, and other enterprise platforms, Big Data is rapidly commoditizing. Just as anyone with a credit card can subscribe to one of the cloud-based business software platforms and have Fortune 500 IT services in a matter of minutes, Big Data analytics are slowly moving out of the confines of the enterprise server room"
This spells Good news for the SMBs(Small and Medium sized Businesses).
Also, SMBs would initially feel disenfranchised by the High storage array and compute infrastructure with certain unavoidable costs to be incurred in joining the big data party, however on closer introspection, the viability of big data is seen when the timeline between the time the data is collected and the time it is analysed to make a useful decision is closer to being minute.
As we know, decision cycles and decision points are actually fewer in small organisations; another reason why big data could go "small".
Lastly, setting up the process, HW, SW, for the real-time data gathering takes alot of discipline. Hence, the smaller the organisation, the fewer "Big data envangelists" needed to make the company an ADOPTER.
So SMBs, Big data could be for you, lets start looking into how we could sow the seeds of real-time data collection and analysis and harvest intelligent decision making.
And if your wondering if your organisation qualifies as being called an SMB and not an ENTERPRISE or somewhere in between that continuum then that's really a story for another day....
Thanks for reading
For the love of computers