Access to the digital world has seen companies obtain an unprecedented amount of data and it can be overwhelmingly complicated to handle, especially for those that don’t have the infrastructure to handle data processing and the data engineering tasks required to set up the channels to make that information useful.
When it comes to the varying categories of data, two of the most commonly mentioned and discussed are ‘big data’ and ‘smart data’. Although both deal with information, there are key differences between the two.
Big data is focused on volume, speed, and variety – it’s the umbrella term for your data on a larger scale, with functionality as a focus, which is designed to sort this information and make it usable.
Smart data, on the other hand, is focused on accuracy and veracity, the actual meaning of the data, and what value can be created from utilising it. It is all about making smart decisions faster and acting on data as soon as possible.
Both big and smart data have a place in business, but they do have very different goals and aims. We’re going to look at smart data, and how you can make use of it for your business.
What are the Main Characteristics of Smart Data?
For data to be considered ‘smart’ there are a few key characteristics which it needs to have:
- Valuable – The information has value to the company or business.
- Accurate – In order to be usable from its collection point (so you can use it as quickly as possible), the data has to be correct.
- Strategic – In line with the value, the data must have a purpose and an actionable quality to it.
In short, smart data has to be information that makes sense, has a purpose, and is usable as quickly as possible.
How Has Smart Data Changed Business?
How companies handle data has had a huge impact on their businesses, and the opportunities they are finding.
With effective data collection, monitoring, and handling, it is actually possible to improve marketing and advertising strategies, target new or upcoming markets, develop retention strategies for existing customers, empower employees to generate more leads and sales opportunities, specifically target and reach out to new stakeholders and investors, engage with new suppliers or other businesses, and a huge range of other opportunities.
Businesses have to be careful how they handle their data, there are a number of legalities and regulations which govern what can be collected, how it can be used, and how long this data can be retained – and getting the infrastructure in place to make sure these obligations are met can be a bit tricky and time-consuming, especially for larger businesses or ones who have only recently gone fully digital.
For many businesses, using data engineering and processes to fully utilise their data is still something that hasn’t been widely adopted, with 95% of businesses citing the need to manage unstructured data as a problem for their business.
This means that those who are planning ahead, and working to sort their data, and utilise the information they are gaining from it, are getting a competitive edge over those who are not.
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Should Your Business Adopt Data Strategies?
Think carefully about the amount of information and data your company is generating every day – where is this information coming from?
For example, you might be generating leads from social media, and seeing your company being hashtagged in social posts – if you collect this information and review it, you could find out the demographic of your audience, their location, their interests and hobbies, their likes and dislikes, and much more – now think about what your marketing department could do with this information, and creating a targeted campaign. This is just one small facet of what smart data can do.
Every business, regardless of size or scope is creating a data trail every single day, and interactions with customers, suppliers, other businesses, and stakeholders have the opportunity to provide a wealth of researchable resources that you can use to make your business better.
The digital world is only going to continue to get faster and more efficient, and as technologies continue to adapt, a smart, data-driven approach could benefit your business enormously – of course, you need to take the time and resources to set up your data collection, but once you do – there’s a whole world of information just waiting for you to evaluate it, make the most of it, and increase your bottom line because of it.