How Small Data is Displacing Big Data

Jennifer Barker

Senior Business Development Strategist

Big data has always been a bit of an enigma. Businesses like having big data at their disposal because they can make strategic decisions, streamline operations, and target the right audiences. All of this helps businesses work smarter, not harder. And, with all of the big data tools available to gather and sort through this information, this is an industry that continues to boom. Consider that data analytics tools are projected to grow to $187 billion in 2019.

But, what if we told you that big data is actually best when broken down into small data? How would you feel about this?

We all know that bigger isn’t always better. If you don’t need all of this raw information to make decisions, why gather it? It probably ends up confusing things in the long run, which is why small data is quickly displacing big data.

To help you understand what small data is, let’s do a quick refresh on big data, why it isn’t always useful, and why you should be paying more attention to its nieces and nephews - small data.

Understanding Big Data

Big data is a massive amount of raw, unedited information that comes from all facets of a business or organization such as transactions, social network interactions, machine-to-machine data, and more. By collecting this data, businesses are able to make strategic decisions.

However, having large amounts of data isn’t always effective. If anything, it can overwhelm and confuse a business, then get tucked away for a rainy day. Not to mention, there is a lot of disagreement over which data should be analyzed, which should not, and the best ways to do so.

Why Small Data is the Future

Small data, on the other hand, refers to specific attributes that are created from larger sets of data. Because the information is so specific, it allows businesses to get meaningful insights that lead to improved efficiency and productivity. Better yet, small data can be retrieved using fewer complex tools, saving businesses time, and money.

We must give credit where it’s due, of course, which is why we’re not knocking big data. It’s still important, and this is where small data is ultimately drawn from. But, there is no reason to sort through massive amounts of information just to make smart, strategic decisions for your business. You can break things down using log analysis and focus on specific areas such as sales, marketing, and finance.

What do you think about the shift to small data? Do you see your own business using more of this, or is big data the better option?

 

About the Author: Jennifer Barker

Jen is the Business Development Strategist for SEMGeeks and the only team member born and raised north of the Jersey great divide, i.e. the Driscoll Bridge. Her BFA in multimedia design and extensive experience in digital marketing make her both an analytical and creative thinker. Jen has lived and worked for digital agencies in two major cities over the last 17 years but 3 years ago this “gypsy living, free bird” happily put her roots down at the Jersey Shore. The struggle to defend North Jersey to the rest of the team is an ongoing battle. #TaylorHam

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