How to Use Big Data in Smaller Businesses
You have probably heard the term “big data.” But depending on your business, you may not be familiar with what it means and how it might be used to benefit your company.
Big data refers to the enormous amount of information generated by the volume of data coming into your company via transactions, web searches, digital processes, social media and other sources. Taking advantage of big data involves gathering, sharing, analyzing and using the information generated to identify trends and patterns and predict customer behavior. You must then apply the findings to key areas of your business.
Big Data and Small Businesses
It’s easy to see how big data could make a difference at big companies. But you can also use data - big or not so big - to you company’s advantage. Start by answering these three questions:
- What data do you already have? Every company has data. For example, a car dealership has information generated by web searches, in-person visits, sales, service appointments and so on. And a construction company has data related to labor hours, vendors, subcontractors, cost of materials, scheduling, budget, type of project and more.
What types of data are you already tracking? Identifying and gathering the data you currently have is the first step to determining what it can tell you.
- What can you do with this data? There are many patterns and trends to be found via data analysis. For example, a retailer can easily identify its “best customers” based on how often they shop, where they live, how much they spend, and what types of products they buy. The retailer can then make business decisions based on this information – like where to locate new stores, for example.
Similarly, data analysis will allow a real estate rental company to determine pricing models based on the time of year, amenities, size and location of house, and market conditions. With this type of information, the company can optimize pricing by the week or month, suggest upgrades to existing properties to make them more attractive to renters, and determine the most profitable locations for new homes in the rental market.
- How can you get actionable information out of your data? There are a variety of technology tools available to extract actionable information from data. An easy place to start in with a web analytics tool. This tool tracks visitor behavior such as how long visitors stay on each page and where web traffic is coming from.
Customer analytics tools, mean-while, use customer behavior, sales trends and predictive models to help you determine an optimal product mix and plan marketing campaigns. Other tools analyze credit card transactions and can help you evaluate and segment customers based on any variety of factors that might be of interest to you.
Data Tools Galore
In fact, there are data analysis tools that can tell you just about anything you want to know about your business. They key is identifying which types of information will make the most difference in your bottom line – and then mining your data to glean the information you want.
Interested in using data to make better business decisions? We can help you determine which type of data analysis will be most helpful.