Democratising big data: how it can benefit SMEs


Date: 22 October 2012

Big data can cause big brainstorms{{}}

Could data cause a brainstorm in your business? (Image: Kevin Krejci on Flickr)

Today, many organisations are awash with data, having amassed more information than they can easily store or manage. Analyst IDC recently released a worldwide big data technology and services forecast showing the market is expected to grow from $3.2 billion in 2010 to $16.9 billion in 2015.

Today, rather than just amassing big data, companies are doing things with it – finding ways to process, analyse and mine data to make more informed business decisions.

Democratic big data

Big data is also becoming more democratic as smaller organisations with fewer resources look to technologies that can level the playing field with larger enterprises, helping them to use data effectively too.

So, what’s the solution that will allow smaller companies to turn their big data into commercial benefits?

The open source connection is key here. Indeed, the rate at which the popularity and usefulness of big data has grown can be directly attributed to open source software, free access to which enables organisations to customise applications to their specific situations.

The leading big data platform, Hadoop, is an open-source framework for processing and analysing vast volumes of data. It provides the most effective way to address the big data challeng, getting the job done faster, more accurately and at a fraction of the price of alternative solutions.

Hadoop and other open source technologies help provide a scalable way to manage large volumes of data. They are especially effective when coupled with open source data management, data quality and integration software solutions from vendors like Talend, the company I work for.

This powerful combination enables the smallest enterprise to tackle their big data issues, improve decision-making capability and achieve the holy grail of competitive advantage over larger business rivals.

Boost customer retention

Today, there are a range of different ways in which open source is helping open up big data to smaller companies. Customer retention is one area where you can see big benefits. Large enterprises have been using complex techniques to measure the likelihood that customers may be enticed away for a number of years.

But it's only now that these customer profiling and competitor analysis tools are becoming available to small companies.

This new accessibility of big data is bringing many practical advantages, making it much more cost-effective to use information to drive competitive edge. The latest generation of open source solutions makes it possible for your business to become more agile, attracting and retaining customers while lowering IT costs and making operations more efficient.

Yves de Montcheuil is VP of Marketing at Talend.

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