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Big Data Analysis for the Small Business Owner

Tuesday, December 10, 2013   By Mike Reddy


Big data analysis… well, for starters, what is it?

“Big data analytics is the process of examining large amounts of data of a variety of types … to uncover hidden patterns, unknown correlations and other useful information. Such information can provide competitive advantages over rival organisations and result in business benefits, such as more effective marketing and increased revenue.”

Whoa. Sounds like a foreign language to most small business owners! It’s a little heavy to me as a business coach too. After all, it’s called BIG data analysis, so why would the SMALL business owner be concerned?

Small businesses should be concerned with the results as the ongoing power struggle between big and small is a delicate game with dangerous end results.

At the root, the concept here is simple, and applicable, to businesses of all sizes. Simply put, analysing large portions of data to ascertain information, establish patterns and predict trends can be employed at all levels.

From my coaching experience I would suggest you are already engaging in this analysis, without much effort. Using Google Analytics? Welcome, big data analysis! Don’t let the big words throw you - just work at your level.

The ‘big’ in big data is actually referring to the amount of information that is being processed.

Example: a case study of your customer base, involving 100 participants cannot possibly provide the insight that a case study of 100 million can. Case and point, more info = better results.

To get an idea of the scope I am talking about here, consider this: your clients are creating data points almost non-stop. From social media updates to downloads, and GPS signals to credit card purchases, we as tech-savvy people are creating point after point, asking to be analysed.

Now you see how big I am talking?

On any level, the end game here is improvement.

The key is to pick the analysis service that works with the type of data you are hoping to analyse. Mostly, they come down to two markets: large-scale or niche. As always, do your research here and prospect multiple vendors before making a choice.

“Every organisation has a tipping point and most organisations – regardless of size – will eventually reach a point where the volume, variety and velocity of their data will be something that they have to address.” – Mark Troester, Global Product Marketing Manager, SAS

Mike Reddy is a Chartered Accountant, business coach and advisor helping businesses in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast to easily increase their profits and cash flow. He is currently President of the North Sydney Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Councillor for Sydney North East and a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants Sydney leadership team. As well as advising businesses, Mike presents business development seminars and webinars and is regularly contacted by the media to comment on small business matters. You can connect with him on Facebook, Twitter and Google+.