Unlocking value from big data for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

With estimates that data is set to grow 10-fold in the next six years to 2020 from 4.4 zettabytes to 44ZB, small and large enterprises alike will be looking to unlock the value of big data.

According to Microsoft’s new chief executive, Satya Nadella, the data dividend could be worth an estimated $1.6 trillion (or £950bn) to big business over the next four years. “But what about the little guys?” asks BBC’s Business Reporter, Matthew Wall.

Big Data in Small and Medium Sized Enterprises

For sole traders and SMEs, big data can hold the key to business growth. The resounding chorus of experts all say that big data analytics is an absolute necessity to small businesses, particularly those businesses which are heavily reliant on online traffic.

A clear example of one small company that is capitalising on big data analytics is Criteo, which “grew very quickly on the back of big data analytics. By tracking customer journeys across the web they learned how to serve personalised adverts tailored to the interests of the user based on their previous surfing behaviour. The adverts can be changed in real time according to who is visiting the site, so two different people will see different content.” (Source: BBC)

Such analytics are all the more important given that a large amount of traffic is generated from mobile devices. Understanding your consumer / end-user is pivotal in the age of information where no business of any size can afford to ignore its data.

Practical uses of big data analytics tools for a typical SME could “include a local retailer selling brollies and barbecues being able to access weather forecast data, current consumer sentiment on social media, and customer location as tracked by mobile phones.” (Source: BBC)

Another example of this could be a taxi company that uses rail and air transport delay data to determine where they ought to deploy their drivers for optimum results.

Data is the new currency in the modern enterprise

Big data presents a plethora of business opportunities. The size of a business’ data set and the actual size of the business itself are not as important as how a business harnesses its data.

Ultimately much rests on how well the data is used.

This will become all the more important with the advent of the Internet of Things. According to the IDC’s annual Digital Universe study, by 2020, one tenth of the world’s data will be produced from machines and the amount of useful data that is generated will increase from 22% in 2013 to more than 35% in 2020.

Not only will enterprises need to invest heavily in storage, they will have to consider ways in which to harness this data to drive further business.

Yet, despite these trends, big data remains “a minority pursuit” (Source: Computing.co.uk).

A Computing survey of 360 IT decision-makers has shown that only a small proportion of companies have gotten to a stage where they are deploying and trialling big data technologies. A quarter of those surveyed are still “investigating the possibilities” of deploying big data tools and technologies.

Join Whitehall Media at our 5th biannual Big Data Analytics conference to be held on 19 June 2014 at the Hotel Russell in central London where we will discuss how you too can unlock the value of your data. Please visit: www.whitehallmedia.co.uk/bda.

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