The Year of Small Data

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Big data has never been bigger. On the heals of a new study (reported here) that shows that investors have pumped $3.6 billion into big data startups this year, and Gartner’s latest Hype Cycle which shows big data quickly approaching the top of the hype “cliff” (along with Consumer 3D Printing and Gamification), one is tempted to see more of the same in 2014. Yet all the steam coming out of the big data hype machine seems to be obscuring our view of the big picture: in many cases big data is overkill. And in most cases big data is useful only if we can do something with it in our everyday jobs. 

Which is why against the backdrop of more hype (and more confusion) about the real role for big data, the case for thinking small looks more and more attractive. In fact, I recently penned an opinion piece for ZDNet in Paul Greenberg’s excellent column on Social CRM on 10 Reasons 2014 will be the Year of Small Data.  You can read the full piece here, and here’s the Cliffs Notes version of the first 5 reasons:

  1. Big data is hard. Doing it at scale takes time, especially when the tech guys own it (I used to be a data scientist, so I can say this!).
  2. Small data is all around us. Social and mobile signals can help us understand customer needs – today.
  3. Small data powers the new CRM. Small data is central to the rich profiles essential to targeting offers and experiences.
  4. ROI is the thing. To realize the full value of data-driven apps they must be accessible, understandable, and actionable for everyday work (remember our definition).
  5. Data-driven marketing is the next wave.  As more consumers want to access, and consume and even wear useful data, there’s an unprecedented opportunity for savvy marketers and platform providers like Adobe, HubSpot, and Salesforce, along with data specialists and tool providers like ActuateLocalyticsTrueLens, and Visible to power the next wave of apps, experiences and devices.

What do you think? Are you finalizing your big and small data strategy for 2014? If you’d like DCG’s perspectives as you formulate your plans I’ll be hosting a special Webinar on Dec 12 at 1:00pm ET to share our outlook and 2014 research agenda. Hope to see you there!

UPDATE: missed my Webinar? You can view the replay by clicking here.

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2 comments

    • smalldatagroup

      Thanks Eric for the comment and sharing your link. I think there’s a real groundswell building for small data, and I’m excited that you guys are helping to get the word out. Think small!

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