To small business owners, the buzz words from the Big Data world (i.e., petabytes, zettabytes, feeds, analytics, etc.) seem very foreign indeed. According to research from the SMB Group, only 18 percent of small businesses currently make use of Big Data analytics and business intelligence solutions. On the other hand, midsize businesses have shown greater adoption, with 57 percent of those surveyed reporting that they use BI and analytics to gain actionable information.
However, many Big Data vendors have begun creating a better story for smaller businesses, focusing more on how they can use their tools to achieve deeper insight into business data to help them make more informed decisions. And the ones that listen to this retooled message will receive a decent payoff for their efforts.
This makes it seem like 2015 may be the year that brings Big Data in line with SMBs. According to Entrepreneur, solutions are even coming down in price—enough so that now there may be fewer excuses on why Big Data won’t work:
Advances in user interfaces, automation and cognitive computing are removing the barriers to adoption of big-data tools and they are now at costs that small businesses can afford. How does free sound?
In fact, IBM’s Midmarket General Manager John Mason told SmallBizTrends that IBM’s Watson Analytics solution “can help small businesses begin to use the power of Big Data in building better relationships with today’s consumer.” Mason recalls a quote that refers to Big Data as “the new natural resource,” but instead of a resource that can run out, Big Data becomes one that small businesses can drown in.
The introduction of WatsonAnalytics.com provides some usage for free—which should fit into most any small business owner’s budget. Through this IBM solution, small businesses can have their data cleaned, analyzed based on chosen fields and then cleaned more to clear any errors. Once that is complete, a text box allows the user to enter questions and receive answers based on the data provided—all for free.
Mason believes that the biggest hurdle SMBs face with Big Data is making the decision to try it out and then getting started. “The second is availability of simple tools that allow somebody to really get started using a data set of something they already have to hand in—for example, a spreadsheet,” Mason adds.
It seems that WatsonAnalytics and other Big Data solutions may finally make it a lot less intimidating for SMBs to try using Big Data analytics and business intelligence to make insightful business decisions.