A quick Google search of the term ‘Big Data’ brings up big results, about 257,000,000 of them in fact.
With so many different points of view and conflicting opinions about what Big Data is or isn’t, how can you get a rounded idea of what Big Data is and how it can help your business?
Still a mystery to many, Big Data has been a buzzword of late and has the power to transform businesses for the better and launch them into a more profitable, fact-driven future.
But, as with any new topic of interest, buzzword or fad, falsehoods tend to pop up more than facts. And I’m all for debunking a good myth, so here are five of the top myths floating around about Big Data.
1. Big Data is complicated
When Big Data first came around, early adopters were companies with the skills and budget to implement and maintain this relatively unknown technology.
However, Big Data is far more accessible than it used to be.
While complicated in the early days, Big Data has now matured and entered the mainstream, removing the need for a swarm of Harvard and Oxford graduate masterminds to extract any kind of value from the heaps of letters and numbers stored away in your CRM and back office systems.
There are plenty of tools that can instantly transform your lines of data into easy to understand insights into each customer account and marketplace.
Get the right tool on board and these insights can be a goldmine of opportunities for every member of your sales team, and they won’t have to do any work to find them.
2. Big Data? Pfft, we don’t have that
Oh yes, you do.
When Big Data was in its infancy, it was largely perceived as being just for the industry ‘big boys’ and enterprise organizations; to some extent, this perception is still rattling around unquashed at smaller companies.
But any size of company will have data. Granted, in varying amounts, but data is data and every company generates it in some way or another. Creating invoices, recording customer interactions in a CRM system or even engaging with your market on social media. This all generates streams of data every single day.
You definitely DO have Big Data, but it’s more than likely that you’ve never had the need (or inclination) to take a look at it in any sort of detail, clean it up or actually use it for good.
That’s where Big Data management systems and BI software comes in handy, making use of all of the data you’re storing away neat and tidy in your CRM and ERP system.
The best way to think of your Big Data is like a library: you’re currently keeping the books nice and tidy, but none of your salespeople have time to read them – they’re too busy selling! A BI tool will sit there and rapidly read every single book, feeding the juicy bits back to your salespeople to follow up on.
3. Big Data is only for the IT department
IT bods love data, there’s no getting away from that. And it’s long been thought that only these revered data savvy super-humans could actually interpret and use it, but those days are long gone.
The advent of software tools that specialize in analytics makes it so easy, even the least tech-savvy of us could do it. So Team IT, you can breathe a sigh of relief that your colleagues won’t be pestering you for a single sales report again.
What’s more, using Big Data can optimize every department. Marketing can craft tailored campaigns, sales can cross- and up-sell at the drop of a hat and your management team will have an instant snapshot of company performance without the need to collate monthly or quarterly reports.
And your IT team will have a little extra time on their hands to do all that important IT stuff they do.
This will become even more important as time goes on as Big Data is only going to get bigger. This infographic shows the explosion of Big Data.
4. Big Data technology is expensive
It can be, but it doesn’t need to be. In the earlier days of Big Data, it wasn’t uncommon to hear about Big Data software projects costing eye-watering six figure sums (Amazon, Walmart, Tesco etc were early adopters of Big Data). But as demand has grown and skill sets have moved on, costs have come down significantly making it accessible to every company.
Cloud-based solutions delivered on a monthly subscription-based service (SaaS) have given the market a much needed kick into touch.
Enter affordable analytics solutions that are making Big Data less costly for every size of business.
With more budget-friendly, monthly subscriptions which you can scale as your business empire blossoms, Big Data analytics tools are now empowering businesses of every size with speed and mobility.
And with a staggering 65% of executives using Big Data saying they have embraced a data-rich way of life in order to remain competitive, you’d be silly not to jump on the bandwagon.
5. Big Data is all hype
While still in its relative infancy, Big Data is definitely not ‘hype’, nor is it something that will be going away any time soon. Gartner predicts that more than 75% of companies are currently investing or are planning to invest in Big Data tools in the next two years.
Data is something that you can use to your advantage. As companies of every size begin to reap the benefits of Big Data analytics tools, from improving decision making and enhancing customer service to capitalizing on every sales opportunity, global spending on Big Data technologies is set to tip $114bn by 2018.