Technology is now commonplace for most of us. It connects our citizens, employees, friends and family and has become an instinctive and intrinsic part of our daily lives.

So much so, that today we are now generating as much data in a 48 hour period as we had done up to 2003, according to Google’s Eric Schmidt. Amazingly, 90% of data in the world today has been created in just the last two years. This has led to the phenomenon known as ‘big data’.

Big data describes the growing volume, variety and velocity of the information all around us. Big data has been used to convey all sorts of concepts including: social media analytics, next generation data management capabilities, real time data, and much more, but what exactly can it do for the SME business?

No matter the size of business, whether it is a 5 person shop or a company quoted on the London or Dublin stock exchange, through analysis of big data, new or improved business insights can be found. Experts claim that there are three aspects to big data. These are:

Volume

The amount of data, which is the characteristic most often associated with the term and refers to the vast quantity of data organisations now collect

Variety

The different types of data from various different sources, often in complex forms, that need to be translated into some form of meaningful format

Velocity

The speed at which the data is collected and analysed in real-time

Until recently it was unclear how organisations were using big data within their communication functions and strategies. However, a recent report developed by the IBM Institute for Business Value, consulting 1144 professionals from 95 countries across 26 industries, found that 63 percent of respondents are using big data and it’s analytics to create a competitive advantage for their organisations. Surprisingly though, the survey found that social media had a relatively small impact on the current big data playing field, with only 7 percent of respondents defining big data in this way. Fewer than half of the respondents reported collecting social media data, instead opting for the more traditional aspects of market research data.

These results are important for managers who are thinking of assigning large parts of their budgets to social media strategies to generate new customer leads and maintain current customer relationships. While social media may explain how, for example, markets are using a product, successful analysis of big data can create new opportunities and angles for product development through a comprehensive understanding of markets, customers, products, regulations, competitors, suppliers, employees and more.

Using big data as a business analysis tool can help companies of all sizes add value to their business. It will enable them to develop effective business strategies and allow them to conduct more in-depth analysis to see new business opportunities that address the whole picture.

For more information, contact Xperience Group.

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