At one time, a small business could be technologically competitive using only a basic business software package. As long as you could keep track of contacts, orders, and sales, you were all set and able to devote the rest of the time to develop your business. In recent years, technology tools have become available that give an advantage to the businesses that use them. One of the most important innovations is the accessibility of big data.

Business is Changing

Running a business today is very different from the way it was a decade ago. You must be much more aware of how local trends, social media comments, and reviews impact your business. The nature of marketing has also changed; those who work with big data tools can quickly discover profiles of potential customers as well as valuable data about their local business market. Marketing can be much more targeted than buying ad space and hoping for the best.

Swimming in Data

Many businesses depend on data analysis to understand their current performance and make intelligent decisions about the future. Often, this data is the sort of information that goes on a typical spreadsheet, like sales numbers and percentages. A new tool for small businesses is access to virtual data containers, known as data lakes. In a data lake, you will not only find numerical product information but also less traditional data, such as comments, videos, and reviews. You can see how well a product is doing and how people are responding to it. This might allow you to avoid investing too much into a fad product with high initial sales but poor prospects for the long term.

How to Use It

When big data resources first came onto the market, they were only available to large businesses with big budgets for technology. Today, more vendors are making their services available to smaller businesses. By specializing in data analysis, these firms can focus on tools and services that they can use in partnership with clients. With each client, the algorithms that guide the machine learning of artificial intelligence improve. Being able to use AI as well as key points of data and databases are key parts of business analytics. A well-crafted data search can discover connections that would never be made by a human analyst manually reviewing several spreadsheets.

Your small business does not need to be excluded from the benefits of big data. The data and tools are ready for you to use. The more relevant, targeted information that you have, the better the decisions that you can make about the future.

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