There is a false assumption that big data can be used solely by large companies. However, big data does not refer only to large data sets, but also to the variety of data processed, or to the fast-moving data. As such, whether you run an enterprise or a small business, big data can benefit both situations.
When it comes to SMBs, big data can be the robot colleague that makes your business stay ahead of the game. Let’s assume that you run a small online shop selling clothes. To boost up your sales and predict the right number of items to order, you can leverage the power of big data to do shop cart analysis, as well as predictive analytics. By using the right technologies, you can know for a fact what your customers are interested in, recommend the right products, and always have on stock the items that best match your customers’ needs.
Unified analysis of all your marketing tools
If you have your marketing in place, then for sure your business must be active in Social Media. You must have a tracking system such as Google Analytics, even a CRM system that helps you track the sale process for your leads, and other tools that can help you make sense of the customer journey. However, as this information is in different places, even if you make sense of how your social media profiles are doing, they are not connected to the stats from Google Analytics or your CRM. Your stats are fragmented.
By using Big Data, all the stats from all your marketing tools are unified, so you can have access to a single, visually appealing report, which connects your customers’ Social Media interaction with your Google Analytics stats, as well as with the data from your CRM, or your newsletter system. By having a broad, unified view, you can create better marketing campaigns, more targeted, and straight to the point. No more guessing.
Big Data may help you increase ROI by up to 20%
In the marketing area alone, McKinsey estimates that data-driven companies worldwide improve their marketing ROI by 15–20%. The reason is that with the help of big data, you can create powerful, highly personalized marketing campaigns, that in the end lead to better engagement with the possible customers. According to a book by Kinkey, “Big Data, Analytics, and the Future of Marketing & Sales,” personalized marketing can deliver five to eight times the ROI on marketing spend and lift sales 10% or more. Moreover, the same book shows that companies using data-driven personalization can improve marketing ROI by 15% to 20%.’ A study from Forrester said that by matching behavior to products in marketing messages, marketers had seen a 15% revenue lift.
Optimize your business’ easy (though never before thought of!) associations
Regarding business optimization, Big Data helps you make associations that you may have never before thought possible. One such example comes from Bank of America. The Bank notices, by leveraging Big Data, that the top performing employees in their call center were those that went to break together. As such, they have managed to improve employee performance by 23% by instituting a group break policy. Such associations are hard to achieve by guessing. You need facts.
How to get started?
Big Data has various use cases and depending on what are the weak points of your business; you can optimize whatever you need. For that, you need to understand what it is that you need for your business. The most important part of getting started with Big Data is knowing what you want to achieve. Set a goal. Define what you need.
The right infrastructure
The next step is choosing the proper infrastructure for your big data project. Building your own IT infrastructure can be expensive and time-consuming. The Big Data industry has grown and became accessible with the growth of cloud computing. By choosing a cloud services provider to host your big data environment, you enjoy a flexible solution that allows you to scale your infrastructure based on your current needs and adapt as you grow.
The right team & technologies
Investing in the right human resources is key to a successful implementation of this type of project. Your team should grow to be completed by members such as a Data Engineer, a Business Analyst, a Business Manager, or Data Operations. With the right team, you can design the right Big Data architecture, implement the right big data technologies, and extract the value from your data.
Small companies are, in general, scared to implement new solutions, and that is holding them back from becoming data-driven. However, a recent survey of small businesses worldwide, 80 percent of respondents mentioned that technological deployment was easier than they anticipated, and 70 percent of respondents said technological investments exceeded their expectations.
Raluca Neagu is a 10+year veteran in technology-focused blogging, journalism, training and communications. She is the marketing director for Bigstep (www.bigstep.com), a company that empowers organizations determined to make sense of their data, by providing a full-stack big data ecosystem running in a high-performance bare metal cloud.