We all know that big data is revolutionising a lot of what large enterprises do with information and what they aim to achieve as they invest in IT. But the ways in which big data might be useful and game-changing for small businesses is perhaps rather less obvious.

Here’s a look at some of the primary ways in which big data can help small companies, whatever field they’re in.

1 – Solving problems cost-effectively

The essential reason why having lots of data is helpful as a business is because it allows you to find answers to potentially revealing questions. This is true for small companies as well as their larger counterparts. It isn’t always straightforward to determine what the right questions to ask might be for individual companies but there is now a great deal of scope for operational problems to be solved at little expense through the smart use of information.

Plus, even the process of thinking about what questions might be answered with big data can be useful for small companies that always need to assess whether the approach they’re taking is the right one.

2 – Discovering new opportunities

For many small businesses, access to big data opens up the prospect of finding solutions to long-standing problems quickly and in ways that can deliver real advantages from the perspective of competing with rivals, delivering new services, understanding customers and making efficiency gains. Exactly what the issues are for individual companies will vary massively from small business to small business but big data has a way of driving change by aiding the efforts of innovators in any given field.

3 – Scale up potential

Big data and cloud-based services are increasingly becoming available to big and small companies alike around the world on the basis of third-party arrangements. So small businesses can look to access as much or as little big data support as they need.

Initially for small firms this might mean using third-party services and technology on a limited scale but, where gains are made quickly as a result, there are almost instant opportunities for scaling up and for SMEs to effectively do more of whatever new strategies have proved their worth.

Positive potential

The good news for small businesses is that investments in big data solutions don’t have to be huge or immediately game-changing. Even relatively modest investments can deliver what are eminently worthwhile results for small businesses.

In many cases, small firms are seeing returns on their investments much more swiftly than anticipated and new horizons are opening up as a result. Even where the scale of data isn’t altogether big by contemporary standards, small businesses can mine information for important insights that make a massive difference.