Business development 6 January 2017

Four steps to start using big data effectively

Step 2: Know where your data is

Part of the data auditing process requires an understanding of where the data is. To get a full picture of what’s going on, you will need to be able to access your data from a central location.

Smaller businesses tend to have lots of data, such as spreadsheets, scattered throughout the organisation in varying formats, and which are owned by different key staff members.

Most people don’t understand the value of the data within these repositories. it’s important to create a data culture within your business to ensure you get the right data, in the right place, to be able to gain insights that will have a meaningful impact on your business.

Step 3: Keep your data tidy

It is essential to capture your data and ensure that it is easily accessible to apply data analytics and gain Business Intelligence (BI). As an increasingly important business asset, you need to make sure the data is of the best quality possible before using it for analysis.

You need to audit your data and improve its accuracy, as well as educating all employees so they know what you are trying to achieve and they understand the value of saving data in a standardised format. It makes for better analysis.

Step 4: Use the best tools for the job

Once you have established what you want to do with the data you have, you need to find the right tools for the job. The tools needed will vary drastically between businesses depending on whether the business model already focusses on data analytics or if a business is analysing data to improve its sales process or customer service.

The tools needed will also depend on how much data you currently have, how much you expect to have in the future, and the speed at which your business need to analyse data to maintain a competitive advantage.

How deciding which tools to use, there are so many options it may seem bewildering. Types of database include SQL or NoSQL, columnar or row-stores, open source or proprietary, cloud or on premises and report or visualisations.