How Big Data Improve Small Business?

Co-authored with Dear Maestro Krasen Dimov

If you are not a part of big data buzz, and still asks yourself a question what’s in big data for you, the following insights might be found useful by you.

Simple query for “Big Data” web interest in Google Trends shows that big data has created a big hype starting in 2011, and we shouldn’t simply ignore its basic applications.

                                         Source: https:/home/tomaszpi/domains/

McKinsey Global Institute estimated value of several applications of Big Data, such as:

1) USD 600 billion – potential annual consumer surplus from using personal location data globally,
2) USD 300 billion potential annual value to US health care—more than double the total annual health care spending in Spain,
3) EUR 250 billion – potential annual value to Europe’s public sector administration—more than GDP of Greece.

The era of Big Data is about customization, experimentation, new business models, and competition. Still, you may feel a little bit lost, and see no application of big numbers carried by data for small business.

Big Data is not an utterly abstract phenomenon; these are just data sets that seem too be large and complex to make any sense out of them with standard statistics or econometrics tools. And you can have this data from your customers registration forms, transaction archives, invoices or bills.

If you do any kind of sales-related business, and this is your first adventure with Big Data ask yourself the following questions to see whether you could use it to benefit your company:

1) Do you have access to the records of your customers, incl. their profiles?

2) Do you have access to the records of transactions made by your customers, incl. details of what they bought over time?
If the answer for both above listed questions is positive, and the data you have can be sorted and recorded in e.g. MS Excel spreadsheet, you have everything you need to do your first Big Data analysys, and you can do it for free, of course.
With the following example we will show you the basic, sales-related application of Big Data analysis: finding out whether and how strongly the purchase of good/service “A” you offer triggers the purchase of good/service “B” you offer. This is adaptation for your business. Let us show how to do that with the case of Big Data discovery they had at Walmart that examined the theory: “If somebody buys diapers, for almost sure, they will buy a beer”.

Knowing how exactly purchase of “A” triggers purchase of “B” enables you to decrease the margin on “A”, win-over more “A” buyers and simultaneously increase the margin on “B”, knowing that purchase of “A” triggers purchase of “B”. It will actively support your stock management, pricing, and promotion policy.

The practical result in Walmart case for making more out of diapers and beers resulted in putting beers just next to the shelves with diapers, so the beer purchase more convenient for targeted buyers.

To perform these kind of analyses all you need is MS Excel and a free-of-charge trial-version of XLMiner that you can download from here. (XLMiner will install as plug-in to your MS Excel, and doing basic Big Data analyses with the programme is pretty intuitive.)

To make a successful Big Data query you need to be able to differ between “antecedent of the rule” and “consequent of the rule”. In our example all “antecedents of the rule” would be “A”, and “consequents of the rule” would be purchases of “B”.

If you’d like to take a look at alternative Big Data solution tool you may also like:

1) IBM Watson Analytics – designed for small business and entrepreneurs with no Big Data know-how whatsoever,
2) Kaggle – platform where anybody can post their Big Data question to have them answered. Over 200 000 Big Data enthusiasts from all over the world will try tackling your problem.