It is generally accepted that small businesses, start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs can use Big Data solutions to enrich customer service and improve productions. These innovative solutions take advantage of technical advances offered by cloud computing service providers to harness the vast amount of data from disparate data storage systems to extract information using modern information technology platforms, tools and techniques. Cloud computing platforms offer valuable savings and affordable means to store vast amounts of data of any types: structured, semi-structured and unstructured data over a short, medium and long-term duration.
Similarly, monitoring and evaluation tools are employed to uncover critical information about web digital platforms, such as page views, new and returning visitors, demographics and specific events of interests including digital downloads and effectiveness of social media campaigns. Open-source software tools have also attracted a lot of interest towards the establishment of Big Data projects for small businesses, start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs. In this instance, cloud computing platforms combined with open-source software tools allow companies of any size to scale up and down on IT resources as needed and pay for what has been used for that specific duration. By employing a cautious approach and using the modern data mining tools geared toward small businesses, start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs, almost every player in the marketplace can participate in the Big Data space.
Data Mining Deployment: Where do we start?
The question that most small businesses, start-ups and emerging entrepreneurs are asking today is: What’s in it for me? First and foremost, data has become the most valuable assets for many industries and thus creating great opportunities for businesses. Similarly, data mining is now regarded as a new weapon designed to help small businesses build new models to compete effectively with well-established counterparts. However, the question that is on the minds of businesses: Where do we start? The starting point is to understand the problem that needs to be solved, the challenges to be addressed and opportunities to be created through the adoption of data mining in various industries. Businesses should first seek to understand the questions related to the business problem before building the capacity required to conduct data mining business. The second attempt is to undertake a proactive approach required to understand future market analysis based on the capabilities, which are needed to ask big important business questions.
It is well understood that data mining is designed to explore data, find patterns and trends in a marketplace but the rationale to build the capacity required for the implementation of big data projects is still lacking. Therefore, businesses can use data mining for knowledge discovery and exploration of available data. Data mining tools convert raw data into useful knowledge to help businesses make informed choices and take smart actions for their own benefit. The elements of data mining include providing access to business analysts and IT experts, analysing the data using modern analytics and visualisation tools. This can help them predict future trends, understand customer’s preferences and purchase habits, and conduct a constructive market analysis.
Extracting important knowledge from a vast amount of data is very crucial to stay competitive and relevant in a modern business world. It’s even more important to spend a significant amount of time to cleanse the data and extract meaningful information before going to the next stage of data modelling. This includes data analysis, visualisation and sharing of experience with other stakeholders. In other words, businesses can use data mining tools to build business models based on historical data patterns and trends, gather more information and insights required to better understand the targeted marketing campaigns. Data mining helps businesses to make smart decisions through proper implementation of business and marketing intelligence whilst improving the efficiencies – high productivity and low-cost overheads.
The Viewpoints of Experts and Business Leaders
The following articles consist of the views of experts and business leaders specialising on data mining best practice for different industries. Their views have been extracted from various sources including company websites, blog sites, magazines and online publishing platforms alike.
1. Tips on mining Big Data in a small business environment. Published by TechRepublic, November 23, 2012
“Defined goals will make the task of mining Big Data more manageable because you can start with only the data that will support whatever strategy you intend to implement that tie in with the specific goal.” -David Gitonga
2. New weapon for small businesses: data mining. Published by Financial Post, April 7, 2014
“Business intelligence isn’t a new topic. Larger companies have been mining huge data warehouses for decades. But Ms. Sandler says that thanks to lower technology costs and broader access to data, smaller companies can now get in on the act.” -Danny Bradbury
3. 12 Data Mining Tools and Techniques. Published by Invensis Technologies, November 18, 2015
“Data mining tools and techniques are now more important than ever for all businesses, big or small, if they would like to leverage their existing data stores to make business decisions that will give them a competitive edge.”-Gopinadh Gulipalli
4. Is Data Mining Really Necessary for Small Business? Posted by BFS Capital, September 06, 2016
“In today’s world, business conducted on any scale is more and more about data-driven decision-making, to help focus business resources for the best possible outcomes and adjust them along the way.”
5. Top Data Mining Resources: 50 Tutorials, Articles and Videos to Learn Data Mining Methods, Analysis and More. Published by NGDATA, June 9, 2017
“Large corporations can afford expensive servers and data scientists, but small businesses can take advantage of web-based, cost-effective data mining alternatives.” -Molly Galetto
6. Can you dig it: what is data mining and how can it help your small business? Published by GetApp, Jul 26, 2017
“As a small business, you have a ton of data at your disposal: invoices, inventory records and spreadsheets on top of spreadsheets on top of spreadsheets. Surely you can data mine your way to the top too, right?” -Brian Westfall
7. Intro to Data Mining for Small Businesses. Published by American Express, Accessed July 26, 2017
“But small or midsize businesses need not spend millions – and certainly not billions – developing such systems. All you need is a spreadsheet and the willingness to enter your own sales data on a regular basis.” -Barry Ritholz