finding business partners

Big data is often overlooked when it comes to finding business partners and forging business relationships. Here’s how it works.

Building a successful partnership takes a combination of hard work, collaboration and perseverance, so it’s important to have the right company by your side when undertaking a joint project.

Thankfully, finding business partners by looking beyond the traditional methods of networking and business advisers to leverage the power of big data is now available to small and medium sized companies. But what exactly is big data, and how does it work?

What is big data?

Steve Gasner, chief data and analytics officer at Powerlinx, says big data is a buzzword that describes the massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large it cannot be reasonably processed using traditional database and software techniques.

“Big data today often refers to the internet’s massive amounts of data,” Gasner says. “Many businesses can leverage the data on the internet to improve their businesses by finding new customers and suppliers, as well as researching the state of the industry and its trends.”

But while there are vast amounts of information on the internet, there hasn’t been an automated tool available for finding business partners and seeking new opportunities.

This is where Powerlinx’s matching engine tool comes in – using big data and analytics software to match prospective partners.

The benefits of finding business partners through big data

Big data itself is essentially just data and provides no direct value, according to Gasner. But once it’s incorporated with text mining analytics tools, it can find patterns within the data that are relevant for a company’s matchmaking needs.

Gasner says the sheer size of big data means it has infinitely more value than traditional networking in today’s connected world.

“Networking is a limited group of connections – take LinkedIn, for example. But there is no network that has access to as much information as the internet, so the latter can provide significant incremental value if properly mined.”

Gasner also emphasizes that big data can be used to find more accurate information for companies than existing business databases and search engines.

The limitations of search engines

Search engines and social networking searches can have a number of limitations when it comes to finding business partners. Even when companies use exact phrases in search engines, this can lead to limited results, according to Gasner.

For example, a company might enter a search term such as “cloud computing company with more than 200 staff”, which may only produce a handful of companies – when in reality there could be many more.

Additionally, business database search results offer an unranked list of companies. This forces users when finding business partners to manually research each result and rank them themselves – a time-consuming process.

Big data combined with insights

Big data and analytics software are just one piece of the puzzle in finding business partners – Powerlinx also interviews companies on their strategic goals and current business environment.

A company’s desired business outcomes, key characteristics and unique positioning are all taken into account. Based on this, the Powerlinx matching engine employs a combination of expert rules, clustering and adaptive modelling to help companies in finding business partners.

The matching engine not only finds the best-fit companies, but also ranks them by their level of relevancy and compatibility. From here, companies can request refinement, such as to include or exclude a specific geographic region or demographic.

Analytics software alone cannot properly exploit the vast potential of the knowledge residing within the internet, Gasner says. “It requires a combination of business-needs sensitivity, analysts who understand how to properly sift the data and elicit nuggets that are sensible, relevant and actionable, and of course sufficient computer hardware and specialized software.”