Business Intelligence

How small data can help your Business Intelligence efforts

In the age of “Big Data,” an increasingly common question is whether there’s any benefit to small data, especially for companies with already running business intelligence efforts. The answer, of course, is absolutely.
Data of all volumes are useful, just in different ways. Small data solves problems of equal value to big data, and can make big data analysis easier.
Small data, in this instance, refers to a data pool that contains a relatively lower volume of entries or sources than would be expected from “big data.”
In general, data stores that fall under this definition are light enough to fit on Excel (one million rows by 16,000 columns) and composed of either a single or a few different data sets. This is small enough to reside on, and be analyzed by a single computer.
This leads into Allen Bonde’s popular definition, “Small data connects people with timely, meaningful insights (derived from big data and/or ‘local’ sources), organized and packaged – often visually – to be accessible, understandable, and actionable for everyday tasks.”
Summary: small data is concise enough to help an average person make a quick, intelligent decision.
But is that useful? In the face of the power and might demonstrated by big data, why play around with a comparatively miniature data set?
Below are four occasions where small data is not only a useful tool, but the optimal tool.

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