Big Data vs Small Data

We have entered an age where data is becoming a highly valuable commodity. When managed effectively it can be used to provide intelligent consumer insight and predictive analysis to give a company a competitive edge, improving efficiency, safety and increasing profits on a huge scale. When it comes to forming a strategy that is driven by data, managers are faced with a decision to make over which kind of data to focus on to inform these decisions. And so, the big data vs small data debate begins.

Real time action points, or historical trend analysis

Ultimately, big data and small data can provide businesses with the answers to different problems, so in order to decide whether to implement a big or small data collection and analysis strategy these goals must be clearly defined.

Small data is useful for answering specific, fixed questions in a much more accessible way than big data can offer. If you are looking to find out how many people in a certain part of the UK use your service at any given time, small data will be able to tell you. It can also let you know the temperature of any item that is fitted with a connected sensor, the weather at a certain location and the amount of times an object was opened, touched or interacted with. Small data can give you real-time information about an analysed object.

Big data, on the other hand, is a less rigid form of analysis. It can be fed this small data, taking into account many other inputs of small data sets, in order to discover trends that can lead to future predictions, and explanations of why these small data events occur, creating further questions and presenting opportunities rather than answering static queries. On-demand streaming giants, Netflix are constantly relevant to their consumer, leading to their growing success, due to an excellently refined big data approach. This kind of improved insight can be vital for certain business cases – but is not necessarily useful for all.

Sourcing this valuable knowledge from the huge amounts of diverse information found within big data can be difficult. Small data, although offering less potential to unearth never before seen insights, is much more manageable for non-data experts. Yet when managed well, and when part of a clearly defined big data strategy, big data can open up extraordinary business potential and lead to ultimate customer satisfaction.

To discover more about how your business can utilise big data strategies, register free for Big Data LDN at Olympia London on 3-4 November 2016. The event will host leading, global data and analytics experts, ready to arm you with the tools to deliver your most effective data-driven strategy.

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