Small Data: Big Impact on Business Decisions

Business Decisions Small Data

Companies have just realized that data matters for business decisions during the last decade. They then invested in data infrastructure and manpower to collect as much data as possible and create new business opportunities. Welcome to Big Data, the most written-about business topic of the decade. Meanwhile, companies left Small Data sets behind. However, they represent 80% of the worldwide available data and an untapped potential for business decisions.

Unfortunately, most business experts can’t comprehend Big Data volumes.
What they can do is to understand and find patterns within an Excel spreadsheet.

Small Data focuses on a very specific business question and provides every bit of information around it. It makes it easier for seasoned business experts to analyze the whys and hows of this question. They can then find correlations and patterns to guide their future business decisions thanks to trusted and explainable Small Data.

“Big data is about machines, while small data is about people”. Specifically, meaningful insights organized and packaged for the derivation of causations, patterns, and the reasons “why” about people.

Ex-McKinsey consultant Allen Bonde

Our blogpost “An Introduction to Small Data for Business” explained how Small Data differs from Big Data and why it disrupts our business life. Even if our jobs and business tasks differ, there is one thing that business people share: decision-making. It is at the heart of our daily work no matter our industry or position or seniority. All of these decisions that business people make come from the study of Small Data such as reports or analyses. 

Small Data also provides answers to the indecision that Big Data entails.

A recent BearingPoint study highlighted how having access to too much Data can be overwhelming and creates confusion. People have trouble making business decisions as the number and variety of inputs they receive overwhelms them. 

Because of this, they neglect key information from the data sources they spent time and money on. Instead, they listen to their “gut feeling” that can be right but also lead to major mistakes and missed opportunities. 

With Small Data, managers can focus on a specific business issue rather than losing themselves within petabytes of data, as it gathers information on a single use case. By doing so, they can support their gut feelings with actual Small Data analysis or show them where their instincts might be wrong. 

For instance, an Internet Service Provider Marketing team felt that bandwidth speed was the key driver for Customer recommendation. They realized with a satisfaction survey analysis that speed mattered but that connection stability mattered even more to their customers, especially for remote workers. It helped them adapt their Referral programs and messages towards this type of customers.

Gartner recently published an extended study on the growing importance of Data & Analytics in Decision-making from an Enterprise perspective. According to the study, 65% of decision-makers find it more complex than 2 years ago, with an increased demand for justification.

For Gartner, increasing and decentralizing the role of data at all stages of the company is key to ensure data-driven decision-making. 

In this context, Small Data will support and augment the process by providing explainable, understandable insights for every decisions a business expert has to make. Do you want to know the beauty of it? Some 300-row, 15-column Small Data sets are probably ready to be used on your laptop, no matter your role or industry. So, what are you waiting for?


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