Harnessing Big Data: Giving Midsize Business a Competitive Edge

By | Dec 7, 2012

Are you on the fence about the value large quantities of big data can bring to your midsize business? If so, it may be time to another look at the reasons data is so important to organizations. Chances are, your competition is already jumping in with both feet.

According to a 2012 study carried out by IBM and the University of Oxford, the number of businesses making use of big batches of data is rapidly rising. A reported 63 percent of businesses surveyed said their use and analysis of vast amounts of data gives them a competitive edge in their fields or industries. This is a 70-percent increase on the 37 percent who reported a competitive benefit in the 2010 study. As the phrase appears with increasing frequency in business and IT circles, business executives and leaders should gain a clear understanding of what it refers to and its potential uses in identifying patterns and trends in your market.

What Does It Mean?

Big data is the collective term for the vast amount of data produced every minute in today's world. It refers to any and all kinds of information, everything from social media activity to call logs to the timing and sequence of sales transactions. Information about the weather, the way people respond to breaking news, and cell phone use are all included under this blanket term. For businesses, improvements in technology not only encourage more data generation among existing customers or clients and potential markets, it also allows you to make sense of the enormous quantity of available data in a usable manner.

Why It's Important to Today's Midsize Business

Each minute of every day information is produced about the activities of your business, your customers, and your industry. Hidden within this enormous amount of data are trends, patterns, and indicators that, if extracted and identified, can yield important information to make your business more efficient and more competitive, and ultimately, it can make you more money.

Challenges in Interpretation and Analysis

Analyzing and scrutinizing large amounts of data quickly to pinpoint problem areas such as security or privacy breaches or fraudulent activity requires cutting-edge and robust business analytics. Another challenging area in working with vast quantities of data is the synthesis of information from a variety of sources that is presented in different ways - video, call logs, transaction journals, social media activity. If done properly, however, analysis of data across these channels can reveal critical information about overlooked opportunities or inefficiencies for midsize businesses.

IBM Data Solutions

IBM's unique enterprise-class platform offers a powerful foundation for the varied information analysis needs of midsize businesses across a wide range of industries. This platform allows businesses to select individual data analysis and processing components that best meet their needs, effectively building a customized solution that can evolve and expand as required.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.

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