“Big data.” It’s a phrase you’re hearing all the time, but what does it really mean? And is it only for the “big” guys? Not even close.
Big data is simply organized data that can be analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, and associations. Turns out, if you’re already collecting information about, say, how much each of your techs are billing daily (via work/service orders) or what equipment is needing the most servicing (through inspection checklists), then you already have the beginnings of big data. That means you’re well on your way to making decisions based on the trends you’re able to uncover by analyzing that data — a process otherwise known as “business intelligence.”
So how are small businesses keeping up with the big guys by using big data and business intelligence to optimize operations, improve employee performance, and boost the bottom line?
By tracking everything
Whether it’s the results of every single restroom inspection, the location of every box in your storage room during inventory checks, the number of hours employees call out sick, or how much overtime each individual is charging, collecting and recording data is the beginning of making the data-driven decisions that define “business intelligence.” If you aren’t keeping track of this type of data, it’s time to start. You can’t discover patterns and make informed decisions without a sufficient amount of data to evaluate.
By meeting customers where they are
Data about where, how often, and when your customers buy particular products or services can help you learn when to expect an influx of certain requests and be prepared with extra inventory or support staff for when that happens. This information can also help inform what other products your customers might be interested in — allowing you to cross-sell and up-sell during heavy traffic periods.
By making adjustments based on volume
You already know that people require more of your products or services during certain months of the year. But what if you could drill down further and discover what your peak busy hours are on specific days of the week? Big data offers that information. Once you can see the patterns of how many people are visiting your business locations and when, you’ll be able to tell when you most need to staff up — or down — never having more bodies on the ground than are necessary at a given time.
It’s never been easier than it is today for small businesses to use the “big data” they probably already have to make well-thought-out, strategic business decisions.
Want additional detail about how to get more out of your data to grow your business? Download our eBook, 3 Ways to Make Your Data Work for You.
You’ll learn how to:
- Find insights through the patterns in your data, and understand how to seamlessly connect data to common platforms like Excel to create easy-to-read graphic summaries of data and trends.
- Better manage your resources including company vehicles, equipment, and your most important resource, your staff.
- Improve sales and customer service with the information you already have to target the right services to the right customers, and reach out to new customers in the best locations.
What can your data tell you? Find out today.