What is ‘Big Data’ and how should you use it in your business?

Posted on by Katie Hook

Estimated read time: 4 mins

‘Big Data’ is a buzz topic that you will no doubt have heard before – but what exactly does it mean? More importantly, is it a subject that’s relevant to you and to your business? This article answers both of those questions and explores how you and your business can start to use this data revolution to your advantage.


‘Big Data’ statistics

According to an IBM whitepaper, 90% of the world’s data has been created in the last two years1 and that growth rate only continues to accelerate as new digital channels and devices become available.

Social media giant, Facebook accesses, stores and analyses 30+ petabytes of user generated data2.

YouTube users are uploading 48 hours of content every minute.

A staggering 571 new websites are created every minute.

So, what does this have to do with your business? Well, put simply, the rise of big data brings with it some huge opportunities. Most businesses are struggling to make real use of the data at their disposal. They are falling short in both managing their data, but also analysing it and maximising its impact.


How to benefit from ‘Big Data’

If you want to be one of the few small businesses who are using big data strategically, then the 4 V’s of big data should form a key part of your data strategy:


It’s clear that the sheer volume of data that is being created at the moment can be rather overwhelming. Knowing where to even start when it comes to analysing and acting upon it can be difficult.

Start by working with the data you have already and then build from there as your capability increases.


The volume and speed at which data is being created now means that it becomes outdated very quickly. As marketers and business owners, this presents you with an opportunity to stand out and stay ahead of the game. By receiving and acting upon insights as soon as possible, you can make decisions that will benefit both your customers and your bottom line.


With the increase in data volumes, we have also seen huge growth in the types of data available. From geospatial data to website logs, from tweets to visual data like photos and videos. As a small business, this variety of data brings huge opportunity if you can harness its power.


It (almost) goes without saying that your data must be accurate if it is to give you any value at all.  According to a study by Royal Mail, poor quality data is costing UK businesses an average of 6% of their annual revenue3. If you purchase data, make sure it has been verified. With regards to your own data, ensure that you have systems and procedures in place to keep it accurate and up to date.

To add further strength to your data hand, we also suggest an additional 2 V’s for you to consider…


Data breaches represent a huge risk to any business. Aside from the legal implications, the damage to your brand and reputation will leave you a lot of ground to make up when it comes to earning back your customers’ trust.

Stay on top of data regulations and ensure that you do your due diligence when it comes to data security.


Now, more than ever before, your data is incredibly valuable. However, this value will only be clear if you fully understand the data that you have – and how to use it. Put resource into analytics and use the learnings to shape your strategy.


Experian’s data and analytics helps people, businesses and organisations protect, manage and make the most of their data, creating better business outcomes and building stronger customer relationships. If you’d like to more about how we can help you, then visit Experian Business Assist.

Sources: 1. IBM, 2. Wikibon, 3. Royal Mail

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