by Simon Peet

Big data’s not just for the big players: how software SMEs can succeed in a fast-growing market

Big data, referring to the vast and continuously growing quantities of structured and unstructured data now available to organisations, has become central to many companies’ core strategies. However, it’s not the data itself that matters so much as the ability to analyse it and obtain meaningful insights to help drive efficiencies, improve customer service levels and inform better business decisions.

rn rnrnIn this new data-driven world, there are significant opportunities available to those technology firms large and small, which are able to offer analysis and actionable insight. Often considered the domain of large global players such as IBM and Oracle, big data needn’t just be the property of big businesses; some of the real innovation in the sector is being, and will continue to be, delivered by SMEs.rn

Driving big data

rnThe evolution of next-generation broadband networks, the universal consumerisation of mobile devices, lower data and storage costs, and the emergence (and widespread adoption) of social and business networks have led to the creation and consumption of data on a scale never before seen.rnrnMost people now have a digital footprint, particularly via social media. The behavioural data shared on these networks, such as tastes and activities, has an intrinsic value for businesses who have the capacity to analyse it. If it can allow better insight into individual behaviours it can allow companies across all sectors to better serve their customers. An insurance provider, for example, could examine the social media accounts of first-time car owners to analyse the resulting data to determine personality traits that are linked to safe driving, and tailor policies accordingly.

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