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July 09, 2012

Small Businesses Adopting Big Data Initiatives Faster Than Their Corporate Counterparts

By Jacqueline Lee, Contributing Writer

Harris Interactive, on behalf of software provider SAP (News - Alert) AG, recently conducted a poll of C-level executives concerning their opinions about big data. The information collected from the survey suggests that SMBs, even more than larger corporations, are prepared to take advantage of the benefits offered by big data.

Seventy-six percent of SMB executives said big data would be the future opportunity for them. More than 70 percent expect to see a return on their investments within a year. Big data is also seen as the primary instrument of growth for their operations, followed by increased sales, lower IT costs, improved business agility and customer retention.

Big data is instant access to data, and with instant insight, companies can be agile, act on emerging trends, engage with their customer base and expose potential risks, according to Steve Lucas, executive vice president and general manager of Database & Technology for SAP AG.

“Every company should be thinking about their big data strategy, whether they are big or small,” he said.

Many SMBs find themselves on equal footing with larger companies in big data thanks to cloud computing. The scalability of the cloud allows businesses to manage and analyze big data in ways they could not if they had to host their databases on the premises.

“Exponentially increasing data volume, Internet access points and speed have made Big Data more accessible and therefore more practical,” Mike Carpenter, VP of Business Development at, told Cloud Computing Journal. “Add social media, mobile proliferation, cloud computing and CDNs to the mix and now it becomes the foundation of intelligence.”

Increased virtualization also enhances mobility in small business. Thanks to mobile device proliferation in the workplace, many small business owners and employees can access cloud data anytime, anywhere, while enjoying the flexibility of not being chained to an office.

Of course, many companies continue to worry about the security of data accessed on mobile devices.

To gain a competitive advantage, small businesses must find solutions that move them beyond simply storing data. Companies will have to analyze and mine data for information that can guide revenue growth. In this way, corporations probably have the advantage, since they have more money to purchase analysis software and to hire database analysts and management personnel.

“Big data is useless hype unless you know how to extract, analyze and act on it,” said Carpenter. 

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Edited by Braden Becker
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