Small Orgs and Big Data? Affordable Solutions Exist for Four Key Problem Areas

    Even small companies can have Big Data needs. A recent Aberdeen Group report found small company demands for actionable data within one hour or real-time speeds are comparable to large companies.

    This actually ends up being a big driver for Big Data across all organizations, with 51 percent investing because “it takes too long to get information,” and 45 percent complaining about “inaccessible data and under-use in analysis.”

    The same report, which surveyed 99 organizations with at least 5 terabytes of data, found small organizations also struggling with data growth. The key difference: Their data tends to be measured in terabytes or gigabytes rather than petabytes. It’s still a problem for the IT infrastructure at smaller companies, the report found.

    Unlike large companies, small-sized organizations have less money to spend on Big Data solutions, with 51 percent of small companies citing the cost of software and services as the number-one barrier to investing in improving their data infrastructure.

    What’s a Small Company to Do?

    Don’t write off Big Data as too cutting-edge just yet. Aberdeen contends that there are four critical technology areas where you can find affordable Big Data solutions and reap real benefits:

    • Data integration
    • In-memory computing
    • Unstructured data management
    • Data visualization

    You probably won’t be surprised to learn that data silos are among the common reasons businesses invest in Big Data. Thirty-nine percent of all companies are investing in Big Data because data is “too siloed” and 45 percent because of inaccessible data formats/underused in analysis, which I’m counting as an integration issue.

    But by investing in Big Data, small companies are able to solve that piece of the puzzle and then some. Companies were able to integrate everything from ERP, CRM to Web portals and databases, and on average had 20 unique internal data sources that stored data necessary for operations or analysis, the report stated. They also used the solution to integrate data from an average of 12 external sources, including business partners, suppliers, distributors, OEM resellers and data aggregators.

    What’s interesting about these “data partners” is that they added data from an average of nine other sources, with the most popular being Internet-generated data, including social media. All told, the report estimates that Big Data companies are able to draw from more than 41 unique data sources, allowing them to generate mashups.

    And that is actually what generates much of the value of Big Data, Aberdeen adds. To help companies get started, the report lists 16 companies that offer affordable solutions for Big Data, 13 of which include an integration tool.

    The report is available for free download for a limited time only and it’s definitely worth a read for small businesses, even if you think Big Data is a pipe dream.

    To learn more about Big Data mashups, you might want to sign up for the Bloor Group’s upcoming Briefing Room webinar on “Connecting the Dots with Data Mashups,” Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 4 p.m., ET.

    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson
    Loraine Lawson is a freelance writer specializing in technology and business issues, including integration, health care IT, cloud and Big Data.

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