A Big Data Approach to Measuring Small Businesses in America

Description: The hype around “big data” in Silicon Valley has left many people confused with what “big data” actually means. There are numerous news stories and articles which catalogue the disasters facing many large enterprises when it comes to analyzing large data sets.

Source: forbes.com

Date: April 4, 2013

The hype around “big data” in Silicon Valley has left many people confused with what “big data” actually means. There are numerous news stories and articles which catalogue the disasters facing many large enterprises when it comes to analyzing large data sets. Most companies aren’t sure what they’re looking for or are confused with how to make sense of disparate data — I call this a problem of “haystacks without needles”. Rather than data for data’s sake, the question should be how does one use data to generate genuine insight that can influence and inform business strategy, create efficiencies and build the business.  The other key issue is how to do all this while ensuring clean and accurate data upon which those business decisions will be made. These fundamental issues are what drive us at Radius.

The key to success with analyzing any large data set is focus. At Radius, we’ve decided to focus on small business data. We’ve built a system that indexes the web just like Google and then organizes that information around 23 million small businesses in the United States. The types of data we collect include social reviews, Twitter and social information, owner background, news articles about small businesses themselves, or even the success (or failure) of running Groupon and LivingSocial deals. These make up only a small fraction of the sources and types of information we collect about small businesses.

Small businesses are close to my heart. My grandfather owned a textiles and dress-making shop in Iran before he had to flee to America after the 1979 revolution. Most of my extended family run small technology consulting firms or local service-based businesses. As Americans, it is incredibly important that we be absolutely certain our small business economy continues to grow and thrive. As cliché as it might sound, small business is the heart and soul of the American economy and embodies the quintessential American spirit of optimism, risk and ambition. Without small businesses, our free market can’t survive — Fortune 500 companies rely on smaller buyers to continue to buy.  READ REST OF STORY

 Questions for discussion:

1. Can Big Data be used effectively with small business? Why or Why not?

2. What questions would a small business want answered with Big Data?





37 thoughts on “A Big Data Approach to Measuring Small Businesses in America

  1. Jarett French

    Big data can be helpful to small business if the small business has a business model that suits big data use. If the small business in question is a shoe repair shop, and this shoe repairman that runs the shop is gaining lots of traffic through typical local advertisement without much market research to keep him and his elf’s working through the night fixing shoes then I don’t see any need for big data. But on the other hand, if less and less people were coming into his store to get their shoes repaired then said shoe maker might need to explore other options to gain back traffic and business so as to keep him and his elf’s happy. The main question to be answered by big data to small business including the shoemaker would be how big data can help my business expand and thrive in my current economy, and then even potentially expand into other markets and economies. Big data could help said shoemaker track his customers and form his service around better suiting their needs, so as to create a lasting relationship with a repeat customer clientele. If big data could solve the problems specific business is facing them it is very applicable.

  2. Matthew Chipman

    The digitization and networking habits presents new opportunities for many smaller businesses. This includes cellphones, GPS, tablets and more. These devices gather relevent information about a persons buying habits, their likes and dislikes, or even social interactions, and much more. So businesses can rely on big data and use it to make better decisions based on real insight rather than using their own judgments. A question that a small business would want big data to answer is that if their product is desired in the market. If it is not then the question becomes what changes can be made to the product to help it better sell in the marketplace. Also another question is what kind of competitive advantage can be installed to make my product have to increase sales. Or another question is what are my competitors doing to hold their market share and can I alter my product to get part of their market share. So in summation, Big data is definitely beneficial to small and large businesses. The only issue with big data or too much data is how it is interpreted and used by these businesses. If used correctly by these businesses, it could be an enormous competitive advantage for them over others.

  3. Megan Jackson

    Big data is a huge emerging technology right now. The potential is huge. This technology changes and gets better and better everyday. To say that data could be used effectively with small business is an understatement. Big data is used everywhere. This would include places we do not even realize. As karl explained in our Big Data presentation, big data can be used to track what users are doing. By doing this a company can get a better idea of the effect its products or ads have on users. For example with big data software a company can tell how many times its Facebook page is liked or viewed by users. This can help them understand whether or not their marketing style appeals to consumers. I think the main question that a small business would have about big data is how expensive it is. I think that the benefits that big data would bring into a company definitely outweigh the costs. The benefits that a big data analysis system would bring into a small business are limitless. In short, big data is worth every penny. Big data has the ability to change the face of a company in that it can help improve sales and even efficiency.

  4. Jarrett Potvin

    Big data can be effectively used in small business. This is because big data can be something is simple as using an internet marketplace. By using such as marketplace a small business can save money on inventory while reaching a much broader selling market. Also big data allows small businesses to keep track of sales and to manage production or ordering. This helps a small business better control costs and record revenues so that the can create the greatest profit margin possible and help grow the business. One question a small business would want big data to answer is that if their product is desired in the market. If it is not then the question becomes what changes can be made to the product to help it better sell in the marketplace. Also another question is what kind of competitive advantage can be installed to make my product have to increase sales. Or another question is what are my competitors doing to hold their market share and can I alter my product to get part of their market share. These questions are huge to a small business since they cannot waste much money or time on figuring this out since every failure pushes the business closer to closing.

  5. Edwin Owen

    I think that Big Data can be effective in every kind of situation and including with the small businesses. Indeed, even if dealing with this kind of data is currently a big challenge for our information systems, I think that we will be able to implement technology that allow to use Big Data in every kind of situations. This kind of data is currently a challenge in order to extract correct information so it’s possible to think that it is not effective in every circumstances but I really think that this situation will not stay like this for a long time.
    When it will be possible to deal with Big Data, I think that some businesses will to enjoy new kind of possibilities. For examples, social networks as Facebook or twitter will be able to collect all the information related to all their users (and it’s really a lot of daily data) and then use it in a really effective way in order to provide new tools to them. They also will be able to have more information about theirs users to propose a better target for advertisers. Actually, I think that Big Data can be really useful for a lot of businesses because it will increase the accuracy of information they get but I don’t think it will be a huge “technologic revolution”.

  6. Brad Zander

    There are both pros and cons to the use of Big Data. One of the huge issues that I see with big data is the enormous and overwhelming amount of data available. The trick is sifting through all the information and actually find the useful information that you need and then apply it to your business. In today’s society, we are bombarded with information from every direction. What we need is value relevant information. Quality of information is far more important than quantity of information.
    The two main issues with using big data in a small business are:
    1) The owners lack of knowledge as to what Big Data is, and how to use it.
    2) The cost associated with using big data.
    Small businesses are ever deciding what to do with the limited capital that they have. Due to the lack of capital, many small businesses will be hesitant to use big data because they do not really understand what the benefits that Big Data can bring to the business. If small business owners would take the time to research and learn what big data is, we would see more and more small businesses using Big Data to benefit their day to day business.

  7. Brennan Lowe

    Small businesses can definitely use big data effectively. Every business needs to get competitive advantages over other businesses, and using big data is a very effective way to achieve this. However, a small business will never need that much big data as compared to an organization such as Facebook. Facebook uses easily the largest amount of big data, so a new, young, and smaller business would never need the amount of big data they posses. In our presentation, we a member in our group discussed how his organization can compile information based on their customers. He can manage it by putting it onto a spreadsheet and be able to interpret it easily to potential sales and potential returning customers.

    There are a few questions that a small business will want answered concerning big data. The first being how much it will cost to get and manage their big data. They will also need to find out how much storage that they will need to keep track and collect their big data. The biggest think they will want answered is how effective big data will be utilized within the small business.

  8. Kevin Robichaud

    I would say that big data is very important to small business. When running a business you have to look for any advantage that you can. Big data can give you the information you need much faster then the traditional ways. By running your own data gathering operations you will be using up way to much time doing the gathering. it can be such a hastle to not only collect data but organize it and convert it into a useable form. For example the guy in our class has a company that actually collects this data from other companies and puts it into useable form for people. that in itself is an extremely effective method. If the man had gathered the data on his own that would’ve taken an extremely long period of time. then to actually convert it into useable information requires alot of technological know-how. For an average small business owner he is most likely schooled in his particular specialty and that most likely is not data conversion.Big data gives these small business owners the chance to compete with larger companies when it comes to research and market knowledge.

    A small business may require big data for many purposes. for example i have worked at a sporting goods store and im sure they would have liked to know such things as the average amount people are looking to spend on a full suit of hockey equipment. as well as a restauraunt i think they would like to know what the average income is in a quadrant so they would know better where to start there own restauraunt.

  9. Rebecca

    Every small business wants to succeed and possibly make it big in their industry. With the right resources, the right technology, and the right information, those business have the opportunity to succeed greatly. The digitization and networking habits is presenting new opportunities for these small businesses, such as smartphones, GPS devices etc, that gathers pertinent information about a persons buying habits, their likes and dislikes, or even social interactions, and much more. So businesses can rely on big data and use it to make better decisions based on real insight rather than using their own judgments.
    Therefore, this big data helps all types of businesses to target their customers buying habits so that they can sell/market products to them specifically, and by doing so will satisfy their needs. Big data helps a business interact with their customers on a more personal level. It helps them understand their customers better. Big data can be a huge advantage for any business no matter the size, since they will have the resources to sort through all the information gathered, analyze that information, and develop an appropriate action on how to reach out to each and every customer specifically. This in return will build a better relationship, build customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.

  10. Craig Schindler

    Big Data can be used by small businesses. The major road block to small businesses will be the cost of developing the software and systems to take advantage of big data. This can be overcome by purchasing preexisting software from a larger company or firm and adapting their small business to it.
    Small businesses want the same information big businesses want. They want data that can help them streamline their business and provide fast, efficient, service to their customers at a competitive price.

  11. KJ

    1. Can Big Data be used effectively with small business? Why or Why not?
    Oh…yaaaaaa. Big time. No pun intended. This is a long topic, but if you were there for our presentation on Big Data and read our paper I covered this In detail of how BD can be used effectively for small businesses.
    2. What questions would a small business want answered with Big Data?
    The same questions that larger businesses are asking: what can this do for us, and what does that mean for our clients and stake/shareholders? Moreover, they want to know how their clients and prospective clients are interacting with them, or where they can increase their accessibility to them. Unfortunately Big Data is somewhat of a buzz word and those seeking it may not even clearly know why, this is especially common in small business who often seek to imitate the bigger competitors rather than stand out and take a step back to analyze their own initiative. There are several different levels of roles required to effectively make use of any data, big or small, from analysts to operators. As always, small businesses that are proactively aware of their clients needs and what they mean, as well as their concerns, are some of the most paramount topics that are relevant to small business (as well as large).

  12. Brandon Yadernuk

    1. Can Big Data be used effectively with small business? Why or Why not?

    Yes a small business can use big data, and they can do it effectively. However, the small the business the smaller amount of access they will be able to afford. Operating a network that would allow the business to utilize the full benefits of big data does come with a hefty price; otherwise it would simply be the industry norm. So although the amount of usage that a company can afford is limited it does not mean, by any stretch, that big data would not be an asset. If large companies such as Netflix, Amazon, and Nike see the benefit of using big data, then I would venture to say that big data is just that important.

    2. What questions would a small business want answered with Big Data?

    They would probably want to know how much it would cost them. They may also want to know if a new hire will be needed to analyze the data and show them how it will be useful to their respective businesses. Another important question to ask would be are any of my competitors using big data and having success, this would be vitally important to know because you would want to know if you are on the cutting edge of the business frontier or if you are playing catch-up.

  13. Richelle Merrick

    Big data can be used effectively with small businesses. Big data should be used by all businesses no matter the size in this day and age. Everything is connected and that effects all businesses. It is important for a business to know it’s customers and the trends happening in order to keep up. The data the article is suggesting will allow business owners to access reviews, social media information, background on other business owners, news articles, and the success and failure rates of certain things. This would eliminate so much risk involved in being a small business owner. Being a small business owner in this economy there are so many unknowns, big data sorts through all the information put out here. It allows small business owners to find the information they are looking for. To be able to track trends before they fizzle out and continue to keep up is a huge game changer. Big data is a tool for all companies, any small owner should be utilizing it.
    Small businesses are going to want to know about competitors, what they are doing right, what they are doing wrong, what they are doing next. How to better utilize social media sites as a customer service tool. What trends are arising. What their customers have to say about them. There are countless ways that small businesses are going to use big data.

  14. Alphine Bindiridza

    I think big data can be used in any size of organization since it is more efficient and effective to use. This helps businesses to know more about their companies and their customer information. Big data also helps companies to have more access to new consumers and have a rise in their profits. The questions that will be asked by small business owners are that how much profit are they gaining more, the pros and cons of the big data, and will this give them a long term benefit.

  15. Mariam akinola

    Big data can be used very efficiently by small businesses. According the the article, small companies contribute 70% of America’s GDP so therefore if they have access to big data, they will be able to make use of this opportunity efficiently and effectively. Big data can also be misleading because there is so much information a company can use. The concepts of the data has to be understood when applied to the business. Cost is also a problem for using big data. These small companies have to weigh the pros and cons of using big data. If outsourcing to a company such as radius will be cost effective, then they should consider the option. Questions small companies would want to be answered are would big data be beneficial for them? Because of their small size businesses, will bigger companies be a threat to them? Will location also affect their decision making, sales and profit? All these questions must be looked into before making any decision.

  16. Callie Matz

    I think that big data can be used in all sizes of business. The ability to compile, analyze, and interpret data is always valuable. Big data allows companies to gain information on customers and trends which are both necessary for the viability of any business especially small businesses where they are focused on customer service. Having information on individual customers will allow them to better serve existing customers and expand their services with them. The main issue with big data for a small organization is the cost. They may need to outsource space to store the data. Another issue could be the sheer amount of data and some may be irrelevant to the organization. Sifting through that amount of information can be time consuming and require extra staff to manage it.
    Small businesses will want big data to answer questions about customer relations and market trends. They will rely on the big data to inform them of changes in customer needs and trends toward different products. Big data could also inform small businesses on the success or failure of promotions to help make future decisions about promotions. Big data could also inform small businesses about opportunities for expansion into new markets.

  17. Jacqueline Wegener

    I believe that big data can be useful at any level of an organization.The ability of big data to compile, analyze, and interpret data can be useful in any organization in order to uncover information and provide insight to upper management. The type of information that a small business can gather from the use of big data includes information on consumers and can do so as easily as larger organizations.Although the use of big data is endless, there would be a hefty cost associated with using big data in a small organization. They would be required to have a third party store data which would be expensive and the small business may not be able to justify spending this amount of money due to their size and the fact that some may feel using big data may not be useful for the organization.

    The questions that small businesses should be looking into include learning about ways to increase the number of customers, targeting populations, and how repeat customers will be beneficial. Using big data, a small business would be able to determine the types of products they should be offering to their customers (what is in demand), how they should be organizing products on the shelves to increase products that are sold. Using big data would enable a small business to ask current and future customers specific questions in order to gain insight into what they want and the steps the business can take in order to meet customer demands and increase profits.

  18. Alicia Dyck

    Big Data can be used for any business effectively. This is because the usage of data in every company can be a useful tool when trying to answer questions of the usefulness of a certain type of promotion or the viability of expanding to a wider market segment. Being able to use data is a skill that every business needs to be able to implement in their work structure. Using the information available will help the company remain up-to-date on important developments and hopefully will be able to aid the company’s goals of being profitable and potentially expanding to become a more well-known company in the market. Questions that small businesses may want answered with Big Data could include how certain types of advertising are helping other organizations to be successful. This also would include using the data to understand what forms of communication may not be helpful to the small business. Another way that Big Data can be used to help small businesses would be through allowing the small business access to a large amount of information that could potentially help the business owners to be able to look objectively at the options that are present for them. Using Big Data could allow these people to make more effective decisions that could be more helpful in the long-run.

  19. jonny

    Big Data can be very useful when used correctly and it has many advantages. It may be hard for some small businesses to use as it does need to be used correctly of you want it to be effective, it does pose more challenges than traditional data sorting methods but because of its size and complexity it can really help small business find its target market and allow it to accelerate faster into the market it is trying to penetrate. It may be hard for some small businesses as they would need help from a third party which can be very costly which could hurt a small business when having limited funding to start out.
    Small business would want some answers to questions about the confusing nature of big data. Such as where does the information come from? How reliable id the information? If I use big data will this actually benefit my business and help me profit in the short run and long run? How much will this data cost me? And many other numerous questions. A small business owner needs to weigh these options and discover if this is the right option to pursue in the growth and development of their business.

  20. Lanre Paulissen

    I particularly love the way the article opens; “The hype around “big data” in Silicon Valley has left many people confused with what “big data” actually means.” For what it’s worth, Big Data refers to information that cannot be processed or analyzed using traditional processing tools. Businesses have access to a wealth of information, but it could be quite challenging especially for small businesses to get value out of such data because they might lack the computing power or the necessary man-power to analyse and generate insights from such data. I believe that Big Data can be used effectively by small businesses to generate insight for competitive and profit making business strategies. Big data could help small businesses focus on a target market or even carve out a niche and explore it to the maximum.

    The major question small business might want answered with Big Data would be about their client base, the demographics, their spending patterns and how to effectively meet and exceed their customers’ expectations. They could also employ Big Data to answer location analysis queries when they look to expand operations. Furthermore, Big Data could be used by small businesses to study their competition; having a foreknowledge of emerging trends would definitely keep the small business ahead of the pack, which would consequently enhance growth.

  21. Kelsey Allan

    I definitely think that big data can be beneficial to a large or small business. The ability to analyze and interpret data can be useful for any company because it allows you to find hidden data that you would not find otherwise. It is also helpful for any company to utilize information based on their competitors and customers. This can help to create a competitive advantage for these businesses. However, this information needs to be utilized in the right way because too much information can also cause a problem for a business. Therefore, if this data is utilized in the right way it may allow this company to have a competitive advantage.
    Small companies may utilize big data to see if they are hitting the right target market for their product. This specifically can be used to look at advertising and help to decide if advertising should be used online or on the television. Also in order to analyze companies that have more than one location, big data can be utilized in terms of analyzing trends and reports of certain stores. This can help companies to decide which locations are the most effective, and where more advertising needs to be used. Also big data can also help small business look into what makes their competitors so successful, to also make them more successful.

  22. Yionna Wesley

    Big data can make any business more efficient, if used properly. What should be noted are the skills that those small businesses possess to understand the use of big data. The name alone is quite intimidating; “big data.” Any small business owner, would automatically think, “that’s doesn’t include me, I’m small and how will it help me.” When advertising themselves, those big data companies might want to pitch towards those demographics like “small business and big ideas”. As stated in the article, those small companies make up 70% of the GDP. More than likely those small companies are part of the statistical information within the big data. Questions I would ask include the following: What is the price? Most small businesses are small, for some reason. If they are small, what does their budget look like for advertising or market retention strategies? Will the small business know how to use the information that “big data” companies are providing for them? How reliable is the information? What and where did the information come from? For the most part, I believe if used right and there is internal company comprehension. The data will help anyone that accesses the services of the big data companies.

  23. Jordan Slemp

    Big data allows businesses many advantages. One of the biggest advantages for a small business is that is allows that business to focus in on its target market. A small business witha niche product needs to be able to differentiate itself and also focus all its resources to those individuals who would be interested in their product. With big data they know who and how to appeal to those individuals.
    These are the questions it would want answered by the big data. If a company is putting out ads for weight loss in a McDonalds chances are they aren’t hitting their target market. They can use big data to focus in on areas where there product will be accepted. Dominos advertises to students in the front page of agendas. They know students want something cheap and easy when it comes to food. They are also open late which appeals to the after the bar crowd.

  24. Sheri Durina

    Big data can definitely be used effectively in small business. Small business can benefit greatly from obtaining information and knowledge of their consumers, competitors, market, sector, and location. It is important that a small business have the ability to determine what data will be of use to them and how they will interpret this data. They will need to find cost effective ways to obtain the information as they likely will not have dedicated departments like some larger companies.

    Regardless if a business is categorized as small or not, it is important to know what is going on around them. You never know what information may be helpful to your business. It is true that too much data is as useful as not having any data or not having the right data. A small business may want any number of questions answered by big data, depending on the issues they are currently facing. They may even need to first perform research to figure out what questions they do need answered. Small businesses may want to look at how to increase their customer base and how then how to keep those same customers. Small businesses may also want to look at ways to increase efficiency while keeping their costs low.

  25. Lauren Gallimore

    In the growing trend towards big box stores and multinational corporations small businesses need an edge in order to compete. The information that big data can supply these businesses with may be this edge. As long as the businesses have a clear and detailed goal for their company and know what kind of information they need from big data to achieve this, it can be a very effective tool. Big data has the ability to aid these businesses in learning about the demographics in their area and help them find a target market. Once this target market is acquired big data can give information regarding what products these people like and what they may like in the future.

    The topics small businesses should be concerned about learning from big data include things that will increase their number of customers, as well as increase the amount bought by repeat customers. Examples of this include what type of products are in demand, how the merchandise should be grouped in attempts to increase sale of related goods, as well as who should the business advertise to. Being able to collect data about current and possible customers gives the business insight into what people want and what the business can do to increase profit while satisfying these desires.

  26. Carla Hornecker

    I think that Big Data can definitely be used effectively with small businesses, but I think that it’s important that those small businesses have clear objectives related to what kind of data they are looking for, and how they want to use it. Having access to this information allows small businesses to gain valuable information regarding demographic and business trends and other information about their target populations and external environment. This information could give small businesses a leg up on their competition, and give them an advantage in competing with them.

    There is a broad array of different types of questions that small businesses might want answered by Big Data. These include questions related to their target population’s demographic and consumer trends, as well as information on the effectiveness of their marketing techniques. Small businesses also might want questions answered regarding the best methods and ways for them to expand and develop their operations to best meet the needs and desires of their consumers. They could learn the geographic regions which are the most profitable for their business and the reasons for this. This would help the business understand how they can meet consumer demands, and possibly expand their consumer base to include new population demographics.

  27. swatigade

    1.Can Big Data be used effectively with small business? Why or Why not?
    Big Data can be used effectively with small businesses. Every business can sure use some insights on customers, competitors or even the environment. They can make decisions that can help grow their businesses. Big Data if used correctly will give business a competitive advantage in moving forward. Small businesses can use data collected from social reviews, Twitter, news articles, Groupon, and Facebook to identify key advantages and disadvantages to make correct business decisions and grow as a company.
    2. What questions would a small business want answered with Big Data?
    Small businesses would want answers for questions such as demographic profiles, customer wants and needs, failures of business strategies, trends in technology, trends in general and information about competitors. So any information that will help businesses again an advantage in the market and help them grow. They can use this information in their marketing promotions and product development.

  28. Devin Phalen

    If mined and implemented efficiently, big data could definitely be as big of an asset to small businesses’ as it has been to big business’. Like the article stated, the first thing would be to state what you are looking for and then find the most efficient way of mining the data. If I was a small business owner, I’d definitely have to outsource this to a company (like Radius) with expertise in the area. The nice thing about outsourcing is you know the costs ahead of time and the firm you outsourced to is accountable for the quality of the data. It could be an ugly process doing this in-house if your firm lacked the necessary skills to do it efficiently and properly.

    There are an endless number of questions a small business owner may want answered with big data, but an example of one question might be about drawing areas (especially in rural areas). The business owner might want to know how far people are willing to travel to access the business before they will go to the next closest area. This could be done for marketing purposes–to figure out how far out they should advertise before it is just wasted money. Like I said, this is just one example and there are literally hundreds more.

  29. Leisha Hansen

    If a small business has a clear idea and clear approach to using Big Data then it could be useful to them. If they have a clear goal for their company that they can use Big Data for, then they can effectively mine the data or pay a company to collect the data for them and then use the pieces that are most relevant and determine solutions to achieve their goals. If they don’t know what they want to achieve with the data, then gleaning it will be useless and ineffective and the money put towards it is an inefficient use of the small business’ resources. As long as they know their goal with using it, then using Big Data can be just as effective for a small business as a large one.
    if a small business wants to use Big Data they could use it to answer questions about their customer base and how to reach them most effectively. If they are looking to expand, the data could be searched to inform them about where the best locations would be. The data could tell them who buys what and where. With that information, the small business could determine that many people buy their product, but maybe have to drive a distance to acquire it, and maybe many people from that location make the drive to make the purchase. In that case it would be beneficial to set up a branch there to reach the needs of those people in a more convenient way which would benefit both parties – the small business and the customer base.

  30. TJ Winn

    I believe that big data can most definitely be useful and effective with small businesses. Aside from the article, we recently just received a class presentation on how small businesses can use big data effectively. It seems as though, in this day in age, that people are very willing to give up their privacy and tell a lot to companies about themselves. Often times people may not even look at the terms and conditions to setting up accounts when they click the ‘agree’ button. So it is easy enough to obtain the data, but like the article suggests, one needs the right people to decipher what is valuable and what can be used, from what is unusable or garbage data. Therefore, using big data should be taken with a grain of salt, especially with small companies making large decisions, as the information, if interpreted wrong, could result in major losses or bankruptcy.

    The main questions a small business would want answered by big data, I assume, would not be unlike their larger company counterparts. Those mainly being, helping the business to understand their four p’s of marketing and also identifications of their target market and customer demographics. In short, if big data can help point your company in a direction of profit then it is successful and profitable.

  31. Chance Olsen

    I think with the right people and with the know how Big Data could be effective in small businesses. I say with the right people because it is going to take a lot of hard work and determination to get everything set up, and then to wait for the data to become relevant and start showing an increase in revenue. In class we watched a video from a group presentation in which a small town café was using Big Data to drive customers to the door. Yes it took a while and it took word of mouth but with one customer referring friends and family to your business, one could become ten. With this larger demand of customers you will have larger revenue. Small businesses need very specific information to be successful so I think that having Big Data information system set up in a small business would only be beneficial if you have someone who understands how to hone in on the very specific details that are relevant to the business itself. Also it is important to have someone that knows how things work because small business owners don’t have the time on their hands to sit down and manage the data flow.

  32. Stacey

    Big data has the potential to be used effectively in both large and small business settings. It serves as an advantage to small businesses and gives them a better opportunity to grow. Analyzing data that is compiled of different Twitter, Facebook and other social information that allows businesses to gain information and background on existing and potential clientele is no doubt an effective marketing strategy. As it states in the article, small businesses make up 70% of the jobs in America, and 52% of the GDP. Small businesses have a huge impact on the American economy, and with big data, they can ensure that these small businesses are reaching their fullest potential as their marketing and selling increase to a higher volume. Big data used for small businesses could answer questions such as: What market area generates the most business for us? How can we expand our clientele? What trends are occurring that we could capitalize on? How can we transform our market ideas to attract a larger customer base? I think that Big Data being used for small business could be an effective way to succeed in the business world today.

  33. Akina Morimoto

    Big data is definitely beneficial to small and large businesses. The only issue with big data or too much data is how it is interpreted and used by these businesses. If used correctly by these businesses, it could be an enormous competitive advantage for them over others. The article states that small businesses make up more than 70 percent of jobs in America, and therefore suggests that small businesses are just as important as large businesses. This means that small businesses have to compete just as hard with large businesses in order to sustain profit. The use of big data and the technologies used to benefit from big data may vary from business to business, as it could be extremely costly. This is where small businesses may not benefit as much from big data.
    The questions that could be solved using big data would include trends involving sales, customer patterns, multiple store locations’ sales and competitors’ sales. As technology becomes more advanced and useful, big data can benefit from this, where its uses may expand. Big data could also be helpful, where it could estimate future costs and profits that a business may make.

  34. Michael Jensen

    1. Can Big Data be used effectively with small business? Why or Why not?
    Big data can absolutely work effectively and efficiently alongside a small business. The article mentions that small businesses make up about 70% of America’s GDP. Evidently, this means that Big Data will contribute monumentally towards small business owners in helping gain new customers, as well as retain previous loyal customers, and contribute extensively to America’s GDP. Big Data has the ability to track industry patterns and social activity around local businesses. This, in turn, can be usefully applied to establish specific products and services that will cater specifically to the rapidly changing and diverse demographic.
    2. What questions would a small business want answered with Big Data?
    The first question that small business owners would probably ask about how BIG DATA would contribute to their business would be: would purchasing a Big Data program have a high return, even through all of the expenditures put forth to establish it? And secondly, the small business owners would ask about the benefits and drawbacks with regards to implementing Big Data as a primary source within their business. Would the potential benefits overcome the drawbacks?

  35. Thibaut La Porta

    All data is always useful, it depends on how it is interpreted and how it is used. For small businesses that use “big data” they are often called secondary data. That is to say that initially it was not to answer their question, their need they have been collected. But even if these data are secondary they can still be used for small businesses, sometimes it just allows them to get them to ask their questions on topics they have not addressed, or even to help fill some of their information.
    Questions that may arise are mainly small businesses everything included their catchment area. Size, competitors, customers. Those are the first questions to be asked to find out if is a “niche” in the sector in which the company operates or will evolve, but also to know the opportunities. And “big data” can be used to identify all issues that relate to the impact (positive and negative) external actors in the business.

  36. jadenagaraja

    Big Data and Data Analytics can be used in SME’s. But the issues regarding this are –
    Type of Business and Data available. &
    Return of Investment.
    Deploying Big Data management Information systems and Business Intelligence when the data managed by business is small (not vast) is a waste. We cannot use data mining effectively.
    It would take a long time for ROI for SME’s. Investment in Big-data systems are high when it comes to small scale businesses.

    Nice Post!

  37. Joshua Bodnaruk

    I think big data is useful at any organizational ;level. The ability to compile analyze and interpret data will always be useful, as it can reveal hidden information or provide invaluable insight. A small business needs information on its consumers just as well as a fortune 500 company does. However, the main issue would be the cost-effectiveness of acquiring such big data. If the small business requires a third party to compute or store the data, this can be quite costly and small businesses might not earn enough to warrant any extra costs. But, if the small company can use data to there advantage, i believe it has nearly limitless capabilities.
    The types of questions a small business would want answered would be primarily demographic. The flow of customers per day, or the volume of customers in a particular commercial district would be paramount. Also, for small businesses with more than one location, the ability to analyze trends and reports between stores would be very effective at for seeing what policies need to be changed, whether they be company wide or single store centered. Other types of questions small business’ would like answered would be what are the large companies doing that enabled them to grow and be successful, and big data is a large part of that information gathering process.


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