So we have all heard it - lot's of talk about Big Data. Some of you might be wondering what all the hype is about. Here’s a short and speedy guide to Big Data for beginners and what it could mean for you and other b2b organisations in 2013.
What is it?
Big Data is a broad (and slightly fluffy-round-the-edges) term for the massive sets of data held by governments, corporations, and other large organisations, that influence the way they deal with your average Joe (you and me) on a day-by-day basis.
Unless you work in this field, Big Data might be best recognised as the data that determines which friends Facebook recommends to you, the reads Amazon suggests for your kindle, or the point at which your electricity supplier decides to offer you a freebie as a ‘valued customer.’
Although the definitions around it are vague, ‘normal’ data becomes ‘Big Data’ when there’s lots of it, when it’s immensely varied, complex, it’s amalgamated from various sources and is churned out at lightning speed.
Why is it relevant to me?
A particularly brilliant McKinsey article highlighted the 5 main ways in which Big Data can impact business : first by making information more transparent and usable; second, for producing more accurate and detailed business performance information; third, by allowing ever-narrower segmentation of customers (meaning we can talk to them more accurately); fourth, to facilitate smarter decision-making; and finally, to improve the development of the next generation of products and services. Sounds good, hey?
Now, you might be thinking that Big Data is the domain of behemothic multinational consumer corporations, but the truth is that the benefits of analysing and using big data is just as applicable to b2b, and equally useful for enterprises of all sizes.
How easy is it to get involved?
There are a number of business intelligence tools out there which are relevant to the b2b market, and also aimed less at massive corporations. SiSense’s Prism software, for instance, is aimed at companies from 20 people upwards and can visualise trends in real time. It also works well with CRM databases such as Salesforce.com. The nice thing about Prism is that it’s aimed at marketing people and business analysts, rather than IT experts, so it’s easy to use and intuitive to interpret.
We think big data is going to be getting bigger and bigger for b2b in 2013, so watch this space. We certainly will be!