The buzzwords 'big data' have been in the IT news world for a while now, and as the phenomenon of big data has begun to grow, so has its incorporation in big business. However, big data is not just limited to big businesses – small businesses can benefit from the incorporation of big data into their networks as well. However, knowing you need a big data infrastructure and actually building one are two different things. There are a few ways companies of any size – small, medium, and large – can incorporate big data into their business model.
Collecting Your Data
Think of data how it looks when it arrives at your door. Data includes everything about your company, from sales records to marketing lists. You may actually not need to add any more data to what you already have, but the problem is collecting and sourcing the data in a manner that you can use.
Sourcing your data can mean a lot of things, but at the very least, it is going to involve a deeper infrastructure investment. You will need to broaden your social media channels, add forms and prompts to your website to collect more client and customer information, and apps that generate user statistics. Depending on your technical expertise, you may be able to set up the majority of this infrastructure yourself, but if you're trying to build your brand and business, this might be a better task left to an expert, regardless of the cost.
Those who are well-versed in small IT networks, however, could easily set up an infrastructure like this with very little outside help. If you are just in the process of building and registering your company, it's best to leave tasks like these completely up to the experts. Use specialized services to set up your company for a reasonable fee, and leave the computing to other experts.
Another buzzword of late is 'the cloud,' and it has become so because every business, no matter the size, requires some type of data storage. There are more options other than cloud storage, however. Feel free to use the traditional warehouse-type data storage options, or use a data lake, or your own company server.
Cloud-based systems are definitely the wave of the future, however, if you have a large amount of data you want to have stored at a minimal time expense to you, cloud storage is perhaps your best bet. Smaller businesses may be just fine with a hard disk. It's best to at least consult an expert, and if you feel confident moving forward with your own storage options, do so.
Analyze Your Data
At some point, you will need to put to use all of the data you have collected, sourced, and stored. This is where data analytics plays a huge part. Setting up a big data infrastructure is useless if it's not put to good use. This is a good spot to reach out and use managed IT services if you have not done so already. Very few business owners have the time it takes to prepare the data, build analytics, and come to a conclusion. Alternatively, you can outsource this task to the IT-knowledgeable person on your staff.
Putting the Data to Use
Analytics can only take you so far – you need to be able to take the analyzed data and turn it into a command or task for those within your company. For example, analytics based on marketing statistics should go to the head of marketing, with clear and concise ideas about how to implement new ideas. All of the time and effort you've put into building your big data infrastructure should pay off here. This is vital – too often, businesses bury their analytics reports, which contradicts the purpose of building big data in the first place.
It's important to realize the entire process of building a big data infrastructure before you begin. Simply sourcing data or storing it in the cloud just because someone has advised you it's a good idea, won't bring your ideas to life. Realize that the data you're building will help you build your business – and your clientele.