Small Business Should Invest in Big Data and Analytics

Big data refers to huge volumes of structured and unstructured data; however, processing such massive volumes of data via traditional data management tools is inefficient and impossible. To understand big data you have to realize the devices that are collecting it today e.g. bar code scanners, mobile cameras, CCTV cameras, motion sensors, smoke alarms, web analytical tools, CRMs, etc. From the examples, you can see that these devices collect a vast array of data types hence the structured and unstructured part in the definition. The sheer velocity at which the data is being produced cannot be controlled and processed using traditional methods and tools.

However, the use of big data and incorporation of big data analytical technology gives businesses the competitive edge over their competitors.

Big Data and Small Businesses

It is only a thing of the past when terms like big data and business intelligence were associated with large enterprises only. Today, small businesses have to leverage the data they are collecting in order to remain a part of the competition. For years, cost has remained the main reason why small businesses did not adopt big data analytical technologies, but this has changed now. There are budget-friendly tools available for small businesses to take advantage of the data they are collecting today. According to some experts, small businesses can take better advantage of big data since they are able to make the necessary changes far more quickly than large enterprises i.e. real-time response to insights from available data.

According to an IDG study in 2016, 78% of the large enterprises agree that big data strategy has the power to change how businesses have always operated. This shows the acceptance of big data technology and strategies for large enterprises and strengthens the fact that small businesses could become irrelevant if they did not adopt the same strategies.

Benefits of Large Data Analytics

Large Data and Big Companies, a report by IIA Director of Research, Tom Davenport, reveals that businesses are benefitting greatly from big data analytics especially in improving their products, making business decisions faster and reducing costs. Here are some ways small businesses can benefit from big data.

• Cost Savings

The upfront cost of implementing large data tools and strategies is high undoubtedly, but the long term benefits of doing so are matchless. The healthcare industry is a great example of how the use of large data can help businesses reduce their costs regardless of their size. Using predictive analytics, Medicare and Medicaid Services forestalled more than $210 million fraud in healthcare with just 2 years of utilizing the aforementioned technology.

In addition to preventing frauds, small businesses can also reduce their costs by steering clear of creating more inventory than needed, including better partners in the supply chain, etc.

• Improved Decision Making

This is the biggest benefit of large data. It allows businesses to expedite decision making by processing the data fast and giving insights in timely manner. In the past, business decisions were reserved for future strategies in the light of available data and the trends that were observed in it. The amount of data that businesses are sitting on today is huge and thus more powerful insights are to be gained from it.

This vast amount of data requires the use of modern big data hardware technologies. Once both the things are in place for a business, they can understand customers better, create products that are a closer reflection of what customers want and develop a brand based on most reverenced values.

• Impenetrable Security

Businesses are more focused today on using large data to improve their core capabilities, but less attended to a more serious concerns i.e. cyber threats and security breaches. Almost every small, medium and large business is connected to the internet today. Moreover, the Internet of Things has broadened the attackable security surface for businesses making it easier for cyber criminals to attack networks and penetrate company databases.

The biggest concern for modern businesses is that they have to “respond” to cyber attacks that have already occurred rather than being able to prevent them from occurring. The use of big data and big data analytical tools can be a game changer in this area allowing businesses to prevent any security attacks way before they are executed.

Key Technologies Helping Businesses Make the Best of Big Data

As a small business, you will have to familiarize with various technologies that help you store, analyze and take action on big data. Here are some important ones:

• Hadoop

It’s a framework supporting the storing of large amounts of data using an open-source approach. Once data is stored, Hadoop enables the use of a variety of applications using “clustered hardware” at its base. Due to the cluster of commodity hardware, it becomes possible and easy for businesses to process big data despite its increasing volume.

• Data Mining

This is the technology that enables business owners to capture insights, patterns and trends from big data that otherwise cannot be obtained with a traditional approach. Data mining is what allows you to jump in a large sea of structured and unstructured data, make sense of it all and produce analytical insights that help businesses with real-time and future decisions.

• Predictive Analytics

Predictive analytics walk side by side with data mining. Artificial is at the heart of predictive analytics, enabling business owners to adjust their present strategies by giving predictions about what will transpire for the business based on existing data.

Juggling Living in the Now and Our Businesses

Does anyone else find this quite a tightrope walk? It can be quite mind boggling!

The Past, Future but rarely Present

The business world at large demands projections, business plans, analysis of data and constant checking of figures – which area of our business should we concentrate on next, which country should we try to conquer next? A full time job in itself if we don’t have people to help us out!

All of the above serve to keep us in either the past or the future. The present moment is fleeting and reflects what we have been doing in the past anyway – so why spend so much time analysing it? Surely, by looking at the present moment and where we are – not just in business, but in our lives – we have a pretty accurate yardstick of how we have been creating our lives to date.

Business is a Serious Business

Most businesses are run with the aim of making money – yes, I know – I’m stating the obvious! However, isn’t it just this factor that takes the joy out of many businesses? A bit like a person who loves amateur dramatics, but when they decide to transfer over to the professional stage the joy dissipates because now their lifestyle depends on their success. There is a mantle of seriousness which now envelopes them and, except for a fortunate few, it’s not fun anymore, but business.

This very seriousness is what ties people up in knots, makes them tense, stressed and out of touch with their intuition and guidance. There is too much fear of failure and thoughts of not having enough money to support themselves, needing to go back into work that they hate doing just to make ends meet and even the fear of people telling them ‘I told you so!’

There are many layers to starting our own business. It’s about making ourselves vulnerable because we can ultimately be rejected by the world and nobody wants what we have to offer. The ultimate rejection! It takes courage to take that leap of faith.

We have to be Passionate

Loving what we do is really the only way to have any chance of a successful business, and I’m not just talking about money. I’m sure all of us have had dealings with businesses which have been run delightfully – restaurants that serve the most delicious food for example. Then one day we visit our favourite restaurant and the food isn’t quite as good, the service isn’t quite as personal and, on enquiry, we find that the restaurant has changed hands. The passion and energy of the person/people that started it has gone and, unless the restaurant is taken over by people with equal passion, the customers are going to feel the difference. Is there ever the same level of passion shown for a business which is already a running concern versus one that has been built from scratch with blood, sweat and tears? I don’t know, but I doubt it.

It is our energy which runs our business. We can have unlimited funds to throw at it, but unless we have passion for what we do that money is going to go down the drain, as potential customers will sense that we aren’t in business for the love of it, but purely as a way of making as much money as we can, in as short a time as possible. We won’t show up as people that they can trust!

Getting Things into Perspective

I think that it is imperative to focus on the present moment to stay sane in business. We can easily be forever looking at next month, next year or 5 years hence as to what our business should have achieved by then – along with that is all the pressure of trying to make that imaginary path an actual reality. If we have started a business with borrowed money, we also have the stress of having to report in on our successes or failures to meet financial deadlines. Our stress levels rise exponentially if we are in that situation!

The same as an artist will create a work of art or a piece of music, putting their heart and soul into it, and then tentatively release it into the world in the hope that someone out there will grasp its essence and understand what was in their heart at the time of composition. That is what it is like with our businesses – we put our hearts and souls into them and then hope that somebody, anybody, out there ‘gets it’ and will join us on our journey.

Ultimately, there are no guarantees that our businesses will be financially successful, but we can guarantee that they are emotionally successful on a day to day basis through following our intuition and doing what we love in each and every moment. Using this method will probably mean that projections fly out the window, as we can be lead down an entirely different path and our business could serve completely another purpose to the one we had originally envisaged. We could also be lead to change to another business, or travel another path – who knows. Life is full of surprises!

My point is that when we focus on the future and the money we feel we need to make (sometimes just for worldly validation), we often distance ourselves from the heart of our business, and the reason why we started it. Fear is what we feel when we imagine that we won’t make self-imposed deadlines – again, it’s often all about the money! Then our business suddenly becomes this massive thing which takes over all of our life, and we start to see it as the means of our ultimate glory or destruction – we see our whole lives depending on its success. Then the tables are turned – instead of us being the owner of our business, our business becomes the owner of our life!

I know people who don’t run their own businesses who are working jobs that they absolutely hate, but they fear leaving or losing those jobs because they have tied their whole existence to them. They don’t have enough faith in the Universe to provide for their needs, and transfer the power of the Universe to the company they are working for – making it the be all and end all! If they could just step away from their fears of destitution and homelessness, they would see that the company is merely a tool for the Universe to provide for their needs, and that they can change that and create a much more pleasant and worthwhile experience for themselves.

Similarly, if we can view our business as a tool the Universe has given us to either provide for our material needs and/or our emotional needs, that will help us to lighten up and enjoy the experience. However, if we see our business as our only means of survival, then it’s like having a partner that we rely on to supply every aspect of our happiness! It just doesn’t happen!


I believe that each of us has a unique path to follow and that we are only shown one step of that path at a time. The journey unfolds as we take the next step, and our mind-set and emotions are the keys to our final destination. If we move forward with joy and anticipation, then we find that in every moment. If we move forward with fear and trepidation, we similarly find that in every moment. We can choose to be a creator or a victim – the choice is ours. The good news is that we can change direction at any time – by living in the present moment and being grateful for what we have at that specific time. The more grateful we are, the more things we receive to make us even more grateful. I’m not saying anything new – a lot of people are talking about this and have been for many years. The thing is – it works!

There is more talk now than ever about moving to a world without money – much to the dismay of the people who own all the money I’m sure! I feel that this would bring real freedom of expression and enable each of us to live in the way we dream of. For some that is an affluent lifestyle, for others it’s a tiny home deep in a forest, or by the sea.

I have manifested many things in my life without the use of money – some just appeared out of the blue as the result of a wish, and others I acquired through barter – a reading swapped for a crystal for instance. I plug in directly to the Universe and trust it to supply all my needs. I then relax and enjoy my life on a day to day basis – I don’t look too far ahead in a focused manner, though I do like to day dream about the direction I would like to travel in. I do this with a light touch and lack of attachment, so if my life takes a different turn then it’s no big deal. This enables me to relegate my business to a comfortable part of my life – if it becomes a roaring success then that’s great, but if it doesn’t that is also okay, because the Universe will provide for my needs in another, often mysterious and unexpected, way. Ultimately, I am looked after whichever way it turns out and the upside is that I can really enjoy working within my business and fulfilling my mental and emotional needs, without the pressure of being attached to financial goals.

People will either like what I am offering or not – there is no way that I can control that and I’m not going to change what I do or who I am in order to attract a larger audience. I can only be who I am and do what makes me happy – I refuse to live my life compromising or changing myself to suit others. That is not the route to a happy and authentic life! I do know that the people who are meant to join me on my journey will find me, or I will find them. Of that I have no doubt. It’s the Law of Attraction!