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Using Big Data for Small Business

You might have heard the term ‘Big Data’ being bandied about for a while. It’s become a serious business buzzword, but have you ever found out what it actually means or what it could mean for your business?

What is Big Data?

Every time anyone does anything online, they are generating data. Big Data is the term we use to talk about the huge amount of information that has been and is still being captured by the internet. With the Internet of Things slowly spreading through our homes and offices, Big Data will soon include everything from the shops people visit to how they like their toast in the morning. Companies can use this information to shape their strategies and, ironically perhaps, allow them to interact with their customers in a more personalised way.


How do you get hold of the data?

There are two different forms of Big Data you should be able to get your hands on.

The first is the information that your customers generate as they interact with your company. You’ll need to have the right tools in place to harness it – things like Google Analytics or a bespoke CRM system.

The second type is gathered by third parties but a lot of it is available to access for free using tools like the YouGov Profiler Tool and Google Trends. Social listening tools can also reveal what people think of you and your competitors by analysing social media posts.


How can I use it?

That really depends on the data that you want to collect and your ability to analyse it. The key thing to remember is to begin with a problem or objective your business has and use data to discover insights on how to fix it, rather than looking at raw data and hoping for insights to jump out at you.


Is Big Data only for Big Business?

No. Businesses of all sizes and in every industry can benefit from analysing the data available to them in a smarter way. There’s a host of affordable and free tools out there to help you track your customers and discover more about your wider market.

Entrepreneurs have always relied on intuition and experience to drive their businesses forward and Big Data is certainly not going to replace that. But it can give you the insight you need to back your decisions and discover more about the industry your company lives and breathes in.

In the end it’s all about using the information available to you to make smarter business decisions.

For more business tech advice, check out the O2 Business Gurus online, in store or on the phone.

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