Business development 6 January 2017

Four steps to start using big data effectively

big data
Business leaders have a lot of decisions to make, and can benefit data, machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Writing for Business Advice, CEO of analytics database EXASOL, Aaron Auld provides a four-step guide to set business owners on the right path to data enlightenment.

With 47 per cent of all private sector turnover in the UK coming from small or medium-sized businesses, Britain’s smaller companies contribute a combined annual turnover of £1.8 trillion to the economy.

The entrepreneurs at the helms of these companies have a tough job. Not only are they having to successfully navigate their market sectors and deliver outstanding service to clients or customers, they wear many hats within the business – from HR to IT, sales and marketing to finance.

They have many roles, and consequently, a lot of decisions to make. What has using big data got to do with any of this? Business leaders need to understand that digital transformation is not the preserve of big business – small business leaders can also benefit from technology innovations, data, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI).

In fact, there is an argument that small businesses are more able to make the most of data assets due to agile, leaner processes, fewer departments, and more capable cultures. Small businesses can compete with corporate behemoths when it comes to digital transformation more easily than ever before.

What are the opportunities?

Making the most of your data assets is one area of digital transformation. Several business areas are perfect for implementing big data analytics, including sales, marketing, R&D, production and administration.

By using your company’s data assets and analysing them for insights, you can make better informed and faster decisions, which helps increase management and leadership efficiencies.

Step 1: Have a clear goal in mind

Developing a strategy gives you the best chance of success. Firstly, figure out what you are trying to achieve by using big data analytics before beginning the process.

Too often, company owners start using big data analytics without having a clear goal in mind, and they end up trying to find out everything in one go.

So, take a step back and define the goals that you want to meet when running analytics projects. Do you want to get a better understanding of what the experience is like for your customers? Perhaps you’d like to know more about who your customers are and why they choose to buy from you?

You can glean insights on just about every element of your business if you have the right data, so start gathering it today to ensure success tomorrow.

An appraisal of the current situation is necessary. A successful project hinges on determining the potential of using big data. You need to ask some core questions, such as what business advantages do I hope to get using big data? What processes do I hope to optimise? Am I already collecting the right data?

As a small business, you’ll likely have the advantage of better communications and cross-department collaboration. Starting a big data project with a joined-up approach will help you meet your goals in the long-term and enable you to maximise the data.

By conducting this appraisal – and answering the core questions – you can craft a proof of concept. This should reflect the current setup and shape the project around the staff and resources already available.

Want to know more about how you can get going with big data as a small business owner? Read on for our expert’s three final tips. 

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