Big data literally means too big to handle. It’s a term used to describe data that comes in with such frequency and in such volume that normal methods of analyzing and codifying it just don’t work. Large corporations respond to the flood of data with sophisticated data storage and analytics models that allow them to mine a vast resource of customer and market information.
But What About Big Data For Small Businesses?
Small businesses can keep up with the influx of big data, too. While your firm may not have the capacity to hire full-time data analysts or store reams of data, you can take advantage of cloud computing and affordable analytics software to reap the advantages offered by big data. Outsourcing analytics works in much the same way, and has the same benefits as outsourced accounting or outsourced bookkeeping. In addition, data services are now available that sell smaller firms the same demographic and consumer behavior data available to larger organizations, and cloud storage providers allow you to keep it and analyze it without overtaxing your own server.
Your Accounting Already Has Big Data
You’re already collecting some elements of big data, if not by that name. Take a look at your sales, accounting and/or bookkeeping data, for instance. From it, you can obtain information on which products were purchased, when they were purchased, whether credit cards were used, and so on. If you see a surge of interest in a product in November and December, perhaps the product is popular for holiday use. That kind of information can help you plan ordering and seasonal marketing campaigns.
Back Up Your Intuition With Data
Big data can help you supplement your experience and intuition with hard facts about buyers and the market. Take the example of a toy bear. Common sense would tell you that children are the target audience, but experience will certainly say that adults are making the purchases. Data collection can help you sort out whether those buyers are actually parents or other relatives such as grandparents. For instance, if you find relatively steady sales for the bear throughout the year, and most buyers range from 20 to 40, you can extrapolate that parents are purchasing the toys, likely at the request of their children. However, if the demographics for buyers skew older, and the purchases cluster around holidays, you can be sure that grandparents and other relatives are buying, which might make it worthwhile to market to older audiences during the holiday season.
Not sure whether your accounting data is up to the challenge? Call us to help you get your accounting into shape so you can start analyzing your big data!