Putting the Big Data Puzzle Together for Small Businesses

Posted by Taylor Haney on Wed, Jan 8, 2014

Always excited to have our friends over at Contant Contact write a post for us! Here is another excellent one about big data for small business written by Jesse Harriott their Chief Analytics Officer. Interested in guest blogging in 2014? Email taylor [at] mitx [dot] org.

Jesse Harriott 2aDr. Jesse Harriott is currently Chief Analytics Officer at Constant Contact. Prior to Constant Contact, Jesse was Chief Knowledge Officer at Monster Worldwide where he helped drive annual revenue from $300 Million to over $1.3 Billion. Harriott started an international analytics division at Monster and created the Monster Employment Index in more than 30 countries, now tracked in the United States, Europe and Asia by millions of people. He also led Web analytics, business intelligence, competitive intelligence, data governance, marketing research, and sales analytics departments for Monster. Prior to Monster, Dr. Harriott created an analytics consulting practice for e-commerce company Gomez (now Compuware), where his team led projects for Internet start-ups and well-known brands, including Orbitz.com, WebMD, and Fidelity.  

For the typical small business, the term “Big Data” can definitely seem daunting. When you consider that 65 percent of small businesses say their top concern is having enough time to do everything needed to run their business, the last thing they need is to add Big Data analysis to their to-do lists.

This sentiment was echoed at FutureM a few months back. I was on a panel, titled “Big Data for Small Businesses – Applications in Mobile and Beyond,” and it was clear we’d hit a chord with the small businesses owners in attendance. During our conversation about how Big Data could benefit small businesses, two clear questions emerged: when does any typical small business find the time to analyze massive amounts of data? And how do they make sense of Big Data to help their business?

The truth for most small businesses is they really don’t have the time, dedicated team, or resources to leverage Big Data assets. This raises quite possibly the most important question of them all: who can help?

When it comes to outlining clear actions from Big Data, many small businesses feel as if they need to tackle these projects alone. This is simply not the case. They have larger organizations committed to small business success with the time and resources to make sense of Big Data for them.

Google is a perfect example and was one of the major voices on the FutureM panel advocating for the need to make it easy for small businesses to obtain the Big Data information they need to help run their business more effectively. Google’s BigQuery is one tool small businesses can use to easily access massive amounts of data and help them make informed business decisions in real-time. Tweriod is another great example of a tool that analyzes a small business’s tweets and followers to provide them with insights, like the best time to tweet to reach their audience.

Another close-to-home example is some of the work we are doing at Constant Contact. The more than 45 billion emails we send every year on behalf of our customers gives us the data we need to make clear recommendations for our customers on everything from best send time to key word recommendations.

While these are just a few examples, the goal is simple: give small businesses access to the same intel that big companies have. And 2014 is the year to make this happen. The future is all about using insights to make smarter business decisions that ultimately help grow their business. For organizations with a common goal to help small businesses succeed, it is our job to provide the insights and actions from Big Data that small businesses can put to good use. As we enter 2014, let’s work together as an industry to help small businesses put together the Big Data puzzle.