Most people are unaware of the fact that big data has been present in the business for a long, long time now – the only problem was, until recently, the fact that it was stacked in piles of papers, locked in dusty filing cabinets. The benefit of big data to the world of business was somewhat insignificant, until some quicker ways of storing and analyzing were found, that is. When it comes to small businesses, there is a reason why large numbers of these are migrating to the cloud, trying to make their organizations ready for the future that is big data.

The Pain of Growth

It is hopefully clear now that ebbing away from big data is illogical, at the very least. Big data works great with small businesses experiencing a rapid growth, despite the opinion of many experts. The main problem with growth, however, is the period of adjustment, especially when it comes to small businesses, seeing as how they do not have months at their disposal to wait for big data to start generating profit. For this reason, aiming at user-friendly platforms is more than advisable.

Furthermore, keep in mind that businesses that have been active for a number of years have a ton of data available, further making the adjustment process more painful.

Data mining is a smart way to go – making data-based decisions is a good way of isolating the noise of the online world, while staying ahead of the business pack. Utilize the agility that small businesses possess to parry the corporate giants, which aren’t all that flexible. But the danger of spreading yourself too thin is ever-present, which is why you should focus on smaller amount of queries – the whole point is solving specific problems.

Welcome to the Digital World

Unfortunately for the little guys, enterprise-level software is by-and-large an all-or-nothing proposition, best suited for big corporations with even bigger budgets. Not only is this software expensive, but it also frequently turns out to be incompatible with present systems of small companies and, in addition, it is a huge burden for their small-time IT specialists.

This is why small businesses opt for other, non-mainstream desktop programs and business intelligence solutions, which come at more affordable prices and are much more compatible for small businesses. Yet, even though the price tags on these are significantly smaller in comparison to those the corporations rather opt for, they still present hefty investments. The key here is to think about the long term results – big data is definitely going to be the future of doing business and, the sooner you adjust your company to it, the easier the imminent transition will be.

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Focus on Big Data

You will have to follow your instincts at some point when running a business. Nevertheless, in a vast majority of cases, letting intuition guide you is not something you can afford – with big data adjustment, the error margin is somewhat small. Make a strong big data infrastructure that runs seamlessly, giving you vital information at the right time. Big data is definitely the way to go, but if you set your mind to it, make sure that you trust it completely – if you don’t, then what’s the whole point?

Make a Solid Plan

Opting for big data is inevitable – sooner or later you will have to succumb to it or risk crashing and burning. Still, this is a big decision – approach it without a plan and you will likely fail and cause financial loss to your business. Instead of just taking a leap of faith, set up a solid plan and strategy. This means that you should adjust to the “big data way of thinking”, but also that you’ll need to upgrade your system – traditional IT systems are no match for huge amounts of unprocessed data. Opting for big data is an investment in itself, but make sure you understand that you will need to set aside a significant part of your budget for upgrading your business.

To sum it all up, the main question behind big data is not the one of whether or not you should opt for it, but how will you adjust to it. Making a solid plan and coming up with an in-detail strategy is crucial here. So, to answer the title question: yes, small businesses can definitely benefit from big data.

Marcus is an IT support professional. He’s running his own business, working with companies that outsource their IT maintenance. He often writes about technology, business and marketing and is a regular contributor on several sites.

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