You could spend hours googling this, but our practical take is this: its the data that is most meaningful for your business because of some high value combination of its naturally substantial size, its evidentiary integrity and its relevance to important decision making. Here are some examples of what I mean:
- Large Size – the bigger the data population analysed, the more information to be found and sorted and the less likely that “end of the bell curve” variations, such as that angry midnight e-mail from “Disgruntled of Penrith”, will distort your understanding of your fundamental business drivers and trends.
- High Integrity – real data taken directly from external transaction sources, eg through supermarket checkout sales or warehouse purchase orders that they send to suppliers, should always trump vested and potentially conflicted internal opinions (even your own).
- High Relevance – information about when and how your products are purchased will matter a great deal to your marketing and logistics strategies, but will be less important for your pricing strategy.
- Big Decisions – its inefficient to use Big Data to decide where to hold your company’s Christmas Party, when the only options are that chain Mexican place you went to last year and the harbour cruise that was all booked up.
So here’s some good news: even quite small businesses will generally have access to and good uses for Big Data – whether they use their own, or acquire it from credible sources. But always start by knowing your “why” – after all, your big decisions will ultimately tell you what Big Data you may need and how it might need to be stored and sorted.