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Is Big Data Applicable for Small Businesses?

Is Big Data Applicable for Small Businesses?

The recent release of a new report from SNS Research--"The Big Data Market: 2015 - 2030 - Opportunities, Challenges, Strategies, Industry Verticals and Forecasts", by Research and Markets, is another value-based addition to their offering. This report clearly indicates that by the turn of 2015, a whopping $ 40 Billion will be spent on Big Data technology, globally.
 
Well, this figure is indeed BIG and leaves market-watchers thinking about Big Data’s entry into various vertical market applications. The question that arises at this point is, “Does this revolution warrant an equal place in the world of small business too?
 
Read on for more.
 
Scope and Expansion of Big Data
 
Originally used for describing datasets that measured much beyond the capability of traditional databases, there has been an immense increase in the current scope of Big Data. Along with referring to the data in itself, this term now encompasses a set of technologies that stores, captures, manages and analyzes variable and large collections of data for solving complex problems.
 
Amid the existing proliferation of data gained in real time from diverse sources like web, mobile devices, social media, transactional applications, log files and sensors, Big Data has consolidated its position in different vertical market applications, ranging from scientific R&D to fraud detection………..and beyond.
 
Despite facing challenges related to organizational resistance and privacy concerns, Big Data investments are continuing to gain momentum across the globe. These investments are expected to increase at an impressive CAGR of over 14% in the next 5 years. But then, what percentage of these investments can be attributed to businesses of smaller scale?
 
Big Data and its Future in Small Businesses 
 
Instead of wondering about the importance of Big Data application in small business on a global scale, let us concentrate on the statics related to the U.S. economy for a better understanding. According to Forbes, there are approximately 30 million so called ‘small’ businesses in the country, with almost 50 percent of the total working population (which converts to approximately 120 million individuals) working in some small business or the other.
 
But then, what’s the value for Big Data in small businesses? At the very onset, it is important that small business owners should not fear Big Data. For getting started, they need to have the same basics that big businesses would use – knowledge of the problem on hand and the art of starting small. Here, small scale business houses have an advantage as they are focusing on specific issues and probably looking at a much smaller world of queries. If taken in the right perspective, starting small should not serve as a drawback.
 
According to Bernard Marr, data consultant, Big Data analytics suited for corporate infrastructure also provides potent insights for their smaller counterparts, especially if such businesses are agile enough to integrate them in a timely manner. Here, SMEs enjoy the many advantages of data agility and can act on data-derived inputs with higher speed and efficacy. However, it is important for them to look for information in the right places. Additionally, they should be able to utilize the free basic tools that help in the comprehension of large volumes of data available to them.
 
Small Scale Big Data Application 
 
In the current scenario, Big Data as a Service (BDaaS) is more of a nebulous term used for describing a wide range of outsourcing of Big Data functionalities to the cloud. These functions range from a free supply of data, to analytical tools required for interrogating the data via a control panel or web dashboard, to providing reports and carrying out actual analyses.
 
In a nutshell, it effectively means that small businesses enjoy ready access to Big Data; more or less in the same manner in which they can use big infrastructure via Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS, or other IaaS providers. Today, as they have the opportunity of leasing processing power, these businesses do not find themselves locked out of the domains of Big Data because of their smaller size. They can effectively begin with Google Analytics and then migrate to other business intelligence providers. In other words, it’s never too late for them to start thinking BIG.
 
Yes, Big Data certainly has place in a small business, and how!
 

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