While it is fashionable and prestigious to talk about big data, it is often easier said than done. It requires massive investment into things such as databases, analytic tools, professionals, and other infrastructure. This means that many organizations need to rethink their big data strategies and never overlook the small data at any given point. Businesses must maximize the exiting investments, such as structured data sources, to conserve cash while using the small data available properly. Small data is just data that is readily available in your website, ad servers, email platforms, social listening tools, content management systems (CMS), and CRM. This data is helpful because it offers direct business insights and is often under-utilized.
Small data describes data sets that have fewer than 1000 rows or columns. It is the opposite of big data, which describes datasets that are too small for traditional statistical methods. Unlike big data, the analysis of small data is often simple and can be done using estimation. Some of the examples of small datasets are social media posts and customer transaction data. The use of small datasets has been here for some time. While big data has been the key talking point over the past decade, small datasets prove to be crucial because of the rise of AI. With the developments in artificial intelligence, organizations will be able to do more with less. This is where small data will come in. Also, the rise of regulations such as the GDPR and California Consumer Privacy Act means that it will become challenging to come across large customer data, which is the case with big data.
The talk about small data seems to be new. However, it has been here for some time. In 2014, for example, David Lavenda wrote about exploiting small data due to the failure of big data in providing individual workers with insights needed for daily operations. Even today, although big data is good for business, it is not actionable for individual workers. What is needed for daily operations is not big data but rather relevant data provided in small and smart chunks.
According to Gartner, small data is one of the trends in the business landscape. While many people continue to talk about big data, small data proves to be one of the leading contributors in a post-pandemic business landscape. Although it is hard to pin the pandemic as the cause for the shifting focus towards small data, it is evident that it has contributed to this change. The disruption of the coronavirus pandemic on organizations has forced most of them to focus on digital tools and processes. Most businesses have been forced to identify key technology trends and prioritize appropriately to continue being relevant in the changing business landscape.
Investing in small data analysis, which yields insights that can be used in businesses' daily running, is a step in the right direction. This means that organizations invest in platforms such as automation, CRM, CMS, and social media listening tools that capture data that is directly actionable and useful in making quick and valuable decisions.