Interested in using big data but don't know where to start with a small business budget? Here are solutions you can afford.
The phrase “big data” has been tossed around extensively in 2013, with industry experts suggesting that businesses will soon be unable to ignore the technology and remain competitive.
As businesses begin a new year with their list of marketing goals and initiatives, they’re beginning to realize how crucial data analytics are going to be for success in today’s technology-driven marketplace. But sourcing and retaining a talented data scientist can be challenging for smaller businesses. Fortunately, businesses have options when it comes to extracting the big data they need.
What is “Big Data?”
Before businesses can be successful in sourcing and using data to drive business decisions, they must gain a full understanding of what the term means. Big data is more than just a buzz term. It’s a phrase that covers the practice of researching the behavior of your customers, employees, or infrastructure to gain insight.
Related: Separating Big Data From Big Buzz
That insight can then be used to make decisions about marketing to those customers, managing your employees, or changing your current technology to meet growing demands. As technology has evolved, businesses have moved into the position to collect an unimaginable amount of data. Some experts believe we’re only looking at one percent of that data thus far, mainly due to limited tools.
This analysis goes beyond the small databases and analytics tools we’ve been using. It requires larger tools and greater expertise. But where do businesses find that expertise?
Using Big Data Solutions
Most businesses, especially SMBs, don’t have the budget to hire a full-time data analyst. Luckily, there are several services that have stepped forward to provide big data solutions to companies of all sizes. Amazon Web Services and Splunk are revolutionizing the industry by making analytics available to clients of all sizes.
Another option that has emerged in recent months is data scientist timesharing. Under this business model, companies hire data analysts on a pay-per-use basis, recognizing that the need doesn’t exist for a full-time staff to mine data. This option is especially appealing to SMBs, who may be able to share one team of data scientists with SMBs across the country.
Related: Find out how leading online marketing companies are using big data.
The internet has opened up possibilities for businesses to connect with freelancers from across the globe. Recognizing the demand for data scientists, crowdsourcing sites like Elance have set up special sections for hiring these workers. Businesses can browse profiles and reviews for top data scientists, data engineers, statisticians, and more and ask the questions they need answered before making a final decision.
One major concern for businesses as they outsource data analysis is security. Often these workers are able to access sensitive customer information and insider secrets that could compromise the organization if revealed. For this reason, many businesses are opting to require a non-disclosure or confidentiality agreement of any contractor who will be dealing with sensitive data.
The bottom line is, if you’re operating a business today, you can’t afford to ignore big data much longer. Data analytics is becoming an essential tool for growing and thriving in today’s competitive marketplace. If you continue to ignore the power of large-scale analytics, you’re likely to discover that your competition isn’t.
Author Bio: Drew Hendricks is a tech, social media and environmental addict. He’s written for many major publishers such as National Geographic and Technorati.