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Big Data for Small Businesses Featured

Big Data for Small Businesses John Schnobrich

It is hard to come across a talk on technology without hearing how big data will alter the corporate landscape. As big as the name suggests, big data is never too big for small businesses. In fact, with the right adoption of this technology, small businesses can gain significant insight that can allow owners to discover hidden trends, patterns, customer preferences and other crucial insights that are good for proper decision-making. With the help of big data, small businesses can make significant business decisions that are necessary to stay ahead of the competition and increase profitability. While most people know that big data can help small businesses, some of them are not clear on what ways they can benefit from it. Here are some examples of how small businesses can use big data.

Understanding the customer

They say the customer is always right, and that means you have to understand what makes them tick. Thanks to big data, small businesses can now get the full picture of their customers, their preferences, what they buy, their shopping preferences, why they change their shopping sources, what they are likely to buy and the factors that can make them recommend a product to others. Companies can also use big data to better interact and engage with customers by analyzing feedback to improve service. Some of the data sources they can benefit from include social media, text, public data sets and browser logs.

Identify the trends

The technology landscape keeps changing faster. Therefore, identifying and monitoring trends and behaviours allows small businesses to predict where the industry is headed. For instance, they will understand the demand for the products or services and the change that will occur over time and what will prompt that change. Big data removes the guesswork and replaces it with data-based decision-making, unlike in the past, where analysis and prediction were all about instinct.

Check the competition

Understanding competition is an important thing in the modern era. Unlike back in the day when understanding your competition was limited to looking for the websites and rival shops, things have changed substantially. However, these days, you hardly need to move around town or even leave your desk to find out what the competition is up to. Rather, you can look at the financial information that is always available readily online. On the other hand, there is also Google Trends, where you can get insights into the popularity of a particular brand or product. Such information can also be obtained from social media.

Improve operations

Big data is increasingly being adopted to improve business operations. With the data that originate from different sources such as production lines, sensors, information systems and others, that data can be used to improve operations and enhance efficiencies. For small businesses in the manufacturing sector, machines and vehicles can be connected to the internet and data-enabled to constantly report the status of each machine, vehicle or tool. By analyzing data from these sources, a small business can gain real-time visibility, which is necessary to bolster operations.

Recruit and manage talent

 Data is crucial in identifying talent and finding the most successful individuals to fill specific positions. It enables the identification of the best recruitment channels and helps companies engage the existing employees. With proper data analysis, small businesses can generate wealth by identifying issues such as absenteeism, the productivity of individual employees, development reviews, and staff satisfaction. Small businesses can identify the best talent by extracting data from recruitment sites, social media and gathering information from sensors in ID badges. This information can be analyzed to get insights on the best people to be employed by the organization.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for Big Data & Analytics Tech Brief

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