Small Data Vs Big DataBig Data, with its overwhelming size and unstructured nuances, can keep managers at small to medium sized companies awake at night. The financial, science and technology industries continue to create headlines about the new depths and critical uses of “Big Data”. If you’re GE, Facebook or NASA, analysis of their huge structured and unstructured data streams requires a vast and powerful analytics system. For a company like GE with a market cap of nearly $273 billion (http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/GE:US), that makes sense. Micro-cap companies (http://www.investopedia.com/terms/m/microcapstock.asp) shouldn’t fear the concept of Big Data and feel that their success is beholden to that concept.

For businesses with revenues ranging from $100,000 to $50 million, Small Data is the structured, readily-available data that, if used and analyzed in an effective way, can provide direction to business strategy and goals. Small Data analysis tools take advantage of the intimate and succinct information at your fingertips.

By harnessing and understanding the nuances of Small Data sets, a company can understand their customers’ buying patterns and needs. Additionally, a company can evaluate its inventory accounting and efficiencies, and develop cost-effective and more responsive marketing and sales programs. How does a company “harness” their Small Data? Accounting and financial programs currently available to small to mid-size businesses mean those companies can provide structure to their own and competitors’ numbers. Big Data is WAY beyond and out of the league of the needs of the small to mid-sized company. As a point of reference, here are a few key differentiators when comparing Small Data vs. Big Data:

Small DataBig Data
1. Easily Attainable1. Difficult to obtain
2. Straightforward to analyze and use2. Requires a data scientist to analyze
3. Can be stored in a normal database3. Requires a massive database
4. Useful in small amounts4. Useless in small amounts

Fortunately, a great benefit to the “Small Data” business owner is that they can often scale up (or down) the use of their data points according to their goals, ambitions and growth. Small Data analytics doesn’t have the scary, ambiguous and “cocktail hour buzz” effect, or need I say, coolness factor of Big Data. But then running a successful business (effectively utilizing solid Small Data) has its own coolness that is probably the secret envy of the cubicle-bound number-crunchers in those large cap companies.

Kurt is CEO of Bison Analytics. He is the most experienced business intelligence practitioner to tackle QuickBooks. His work has enabled rapidly growing and successful business CFOs to extend the life of QuickBooks in their financial and performance operations, saving these companies valuable dollars and time.

 

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