[This article was written by Melissa Crooks.]
If you are a fan of Frank Underwood, you probably already know that Big Data had everything to do with the creation of House of Cards: Netflix developed the series based on the analysis of the tastes and preferences of its users. So since before its launch, its producers already knew that it would be a total success because every detail of each chapter was based on the analysis of data made by an algorithm.
But you do not need to have Netflix resources to take advantage of the data. Any company, including SMEs, can benefit from data analysis to make well-informed decisions, anticipate trends and seize opportunities. In this post, we will talk about Big Data and how it can benefit you even if you are an SME.
What is the big data?
Big Data is the term used to describe large volumes of data, both structured and unstructured. In fact, the concept of Big Data is not only defined by its volume or size, but also by its variability (complexity) and its speed of growth.
These three variables, known as the “3 Vs” – volume, variability, and speed – are what define what is known as Big Data, and are what make capturing, managing, processing and analyzing data very complex and slow, if only traditional tools are available.
Taking into account that the volume of data that currently exists is multiplying by two every 12 months, it is estimated that by 2020 the global data will have reached 44 zettabytes. And only 37% of all this data will be useful because they have been analyzed.
The difference between structured and unstructured data
The difference between structured and unstructured data is that the first are those created by systems such as our CRM or ERP. That is, they are contained in a database or in some type of data manager and follow a format or pattern. With which they are easy to analyze.
In contrast, unstructured data is one that cannot be classified into a traditional database of rows and columns. They are the data generated by users, such as emails, text files, photos, comments on social networks, Internet searches, etc.
And also unstructured data are those generated through devices such as mobile or other objects connected to the Internet.
The problem with unstructured data is that they are very difficult to analyze and are mainly responsible for the variability of Big Data. It is estimated that 90% of all the data generated is unstructured.
The importance of Big Data for companies
The data itself is not the important thing. The important thing is to analyze the data to extract information and convert it into valuable knowledge for companies. Even if your company is an SME, you have a large amount of data – both the one you create internally and the data that comes from your customers and suppliers. But are you taking advantage of them?
The advantages of data analysis for SMEs
Some of the main advantages of data analysis – or why you should start analyzing the data you have in your company – are the following:
- Optimize processes: Analyze the internal information that each department can provide in your company. Analyze the interactions between departments and the design of the processes. This will allow you to discover and eliminate inefficiencies and redundant processes, and save costs. The analysis of the available information will help you to know where to focus your attention.
- Discovering your ideal client: Analyze the accounts with your clients to know who is reporting the greatest benefits. From there you can discover patterns – the sectors they belong to, the kind of company they are, the size, how you attracted them, etc. and focus your commercial team’s efforts on attracting new clients that fit that pattern. This will save costs which means more profit to your business.
- Make decisions regarding your commercial premises: If you have a network of commercial premises, the data analysis will allow you to know which ones give you the most profit and, therefore, the ones you should invest more resources.
- Launch new products to the market: This technology will let you know your customers even before launching a new product on the market. You will know your best customers, the products or services they buy the most, and their needs. You can anticipate the demand and launch the products that you know will have a good reception in advance.
- Improve the satisfaction of your clients: You may not realize it, but the claims and complaints of your clients are privileged information that you should not underestimate. Use it to know them better. Know where you are failing and change everything that is not serving to provide your clients with value, either at the product or process level. Failure to satisfy your clients might make you lose them to your competitors.
- Improve the satisfaction of your employees: With all the information you also have about your employees, you can detect what motivates them, and what they like the most (or least) about their work and the company. If you lack information, conduct a survey. You will discover how the company can improve to keep the team happy and motivated.
There are many data analysis tools that are SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms that adapt to the needs and budgets of all types of companies.
If you need complete software that allows you to analyze your sales, manage your stock, control your expenses and cash flow, and prepare detailed reports to know if your company is evolving as you planned, you should meet with companies that deal with Big data. Their software in the cloud will help you efficiently manage your business. You can extract and analyze data that will help you make informed decisions and react in the best way possible to any eventuality.
Melissa Crooks is Content Writer who writes for Hyperlink InfoSystem, one of the leading app builders in New York, USA & India that holds the best team of skilled and expert app developers. She is a versatile tech writer and loves exploring latest technology trends, entrepreneur and startup column.