Every enterprise creates data, however, analysing that colossal amount of information that is generated every day to gain business insights was for a long time restricted to big enterprises. In other words, enterprises which could shell out big money could gain access to analytical tools and consequently, to vital business insights. Then came a transformative cloud which swept over the business community and levelled the playing field for all businesses – regardless of their shape, size, or financial standing.
“Some three or four years back, the only big data implementation that we used to do was primarily for large enterprise customers. However, with the launch of cloud, we have seen a sort of democratic access to big data analytics,” says IBM, chief architect, IBM Watson and Cloud Platform, Girish Dhanakshirur.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are now increasingly making use of big data analytics in order to gain better insights into how they run their businesses and how they can run it still better.
For those businesses that are still undecided, the following considerations may help in making a decision that can lead your business onto a path of growth.
No big money required for big data analytics
Cloud has enabled cash-constrained SMEs to make use of new and cutting-edge technologies, which were earlier the sole privilege of large enterprises.
“Cloud offsets close to 50% of investment companies had to make on developing infrastructure. While SMEs do not have deep pockets to make large investment in technologies, their expectations and requirements remain the same,” says Oracle India, senior director, Sheela Nambiar.
Organisations like Oracle and IBM have made most of their technological offerings available on cloud, thus removing the biggest barrier between large enterprises and SMEs.
“Every product of Oracle is available on cloud which was earlier available only as a on-premise solution. We have just announced an autonomous warehouse which makes cloud-based solution available to all clients. SME clients can now leverage this warehouse for faster implementation of their ideas with very little resources required to maintain that,” adds Nambiar.
Many of these analytical tools are available to all companies on a freemium model, thus giving you the freedom to experiment without incurring cost.
All data is big data
Big data is defined as large data sets which are too complex for traditional data-processing techniques to analyse. This includes all data generated by businesses, including anything from text messages to business transactions.
“Big data do not just mean structured textual data but it includes data coming from various sources, structured or unstructured. It could be data sitting on a company’s excel spreadsheet, it could be audio-visual data collected by these companies,” explains Dhanakshirur.
So, if you think that you may not have enough data to employ data analytical tools, you are grossly wrong. Your small enterprise may be sitting on a mountain of data, waiting to be mined, and analysed into insights capable of vastly improving your business metrics.
“The volume, the velocity, and the variety of data generated by SMEs is massive and now SMEs are looking to analyse this data and derive insights in order to introduce new services for their clients,” says Nambiar.
Preface to new verticals
Any good business undertakes in-depth research before entering new growth verticals. However, what if you do not need to spend on any new research and the answer to all your questions may be lying buried under the data already generated by your business?
Business insights gleaned from the analysis of the big data have made it possible for many businesses to enter new verticals, assert several experts.
“Insights provided by big data analytics can very well be the differentiating factor between businesses and their competition,” says
Privacy – not a concern?
Many businesses may feel hesitancy in taking their customer or more specifically, financial data out of their on-premise storage; however, most of these fears turn out to be exaggerated.
“Many businesses share their privacy concerns with us. Will my data be shared with someone else? What will happen if data simply gets hacked? These are some of the questions we usually face from our new customers. We, at IBM, take the principle of ownership of data principle very seriously,” says Dhanakshirur.
For most of the organisations, data privacy is a big focus. And, most of the offerings offer encryption services with a decryption key placed solely in the hands of the client.