Small Business Shouldn’t Fear Big Data

FEARThere is an insane amount of data out there.

Finding ways to use that data can seem intimidating, especially to an entrepreneur who is working 80 hours a week just to keep a new business on track. But I?d like to make the case that most entrepreneurs should be trying to incorporate big data into their businesses from the very beginning.

According to IDC, by 2020 there will be 44 trillion gigabytes of information out there; about ten times the amount of data there is today. Soon we?ll be measuring data by zettabytes ? 1 sextillion bytes.

Much of that data is fleeting and fairly useless. But more and more of that data can be mined for useful information and patterns. IDC says that right now, about 22% of data is useful. By 2020 that number will climb to 37%.

That portion of useful data is commonly called ?big data.? Companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook mine big data to serve us (supposedly) more relevant advertising. The CDC partnered with Google to use big data to help track flu outbreaks. American Express uses it to forecast customer loyalty and Nate Silver uses it to predict everything from Presidential elections to NBA champions.

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