Over the years, we have been hearing about data science, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and big data. The notion that we have in our heads is that in order to get value from these technologies, we will need copious amounts of data.
While there is some logic to that thinking, it has a downside: we tend to ignore “small data.”
The truth is, some analytics projects do not require a lot of data. These small data projects are relatively easier to do and the data is often very easy to gather. Plus, the insights they give us are often beneficial to both employees and the management.
These small data projects also do not need a big data science team. You can do it with a few employees, addressing problems in their respective areas. It will typically involve hundreds of data points, instead of millions that you normally find with a big data initiative.
Small data projects are focused and you only need basic analytics methods to process them. It may also be completed in a matter of months. There are a lot of small data projects around you. One reasonable estimate is that you can start and finish 20 projects a year if you have 40 people in your company or department.
The problem with big data
Big data is an exciting area to explore because of the hype surrounding the technology. Imagine being able to capture loads of information about your industry, customers, employees, and others from a whole array of sources. You can then categorize, analyze, and interpret all of these in ways that were not possible before.
But the truth is far more sobering. According to Gartner’s Nick Heudecker, around 85 percent of big data projects fail. In short, it falls flat on its promise to transform your organization and add value across the board.
Big data projects are also very complicated and complex. It require a huge budget and involves dozens of people. The politics and conflicting agendas are enough of a headache, but more stressing is finding the right talent in the first place.
How small data projects help
Undertaking small data projects help. It can ease you into the world of data analytics, allowing you to learn how to handle data, learn the skills, and be more confident.
Small data projects can be used to build a case for big data in your organization.
Employees will benefit as well. Big data is here to stay, even if it is currently a disappointment to most businesses that have tried it. Handling small data projects will teach them what they need to know so that they would succeed with data. It will make them data-literate and help prepare them for future careers in data science.
Small data initiatives are also fun to do. With your employees learning how to deal with data, they become more confident and more appreciated that they are able to launch new products, solve a problem, and even do some detective work.
How do you get started?
Don’t just jump right into it. You will need to train your people on the technologies and the methods of big data, and you can rely on us for that. Four Cornerstone can help you.
Call us at +1 (817) 377-1144 to discuss how we can help your small data projects take flight.
Photo courtesy of KamiPhuc.