What Is Little Data and Why Is This a Thing?

The tech industry is obsessed with creating, using and understanding the next big, complex and exciting devices and solutions. Whether they are focused on the internet of things (IoT), advanced machine learning or big data, it is easy to assume that bigger is certainly better. Despite the obvious benefits of big data, Forbes explains that big data on its own is essentially useless without little data.

What’s little data?

little data is a thingBy most definitions, little data are the small pieces of information, such as traditional performance metrics, that illuminate a broader topic. Essentially, little data makes big data more digestible and accessible. For example, an organization may wish to create advertising and marketing strategies based on customer data. However, without having access to the small pieces, such as customer satisfaction, profit margins, social media engagement and more, the company will never be able to truly know if its efforts are paying off.

It’s always been a thing

Your company is collecting little data now. In fact, most companies have been collecting little data for a wile and doing it well. Your web traffic, sales information, number of leads — this is all little data. It’s just that little data is a new buzzword describing it.

Big data depends on little data and vice versa – you simply cannot have one without the other. While big data will paint a broad picture about a specific situation or business pattern, the little data will fill in the gaps and blanks in the form of key performance indicators. These key performance indicators (KPIs) can make gathering data more personal, moving beyond the big picture and targeting specific individuals or groups.

The crucial element of being successful when analyzing your little data is ensuring that you establish the best KPIs for your business. After all, if you are focused on gathering and examining the wrong sets of data – big or small – it is not likely you will achieve the results you want. And seeing things from the micro and macro level are both helpful. If your revenue is down, but leads are up then you know something’s wrong with your leads or the sales process. If customer satisfaction scores are up, but customer retention is down, it may mean you want to take a closer look at the numbers. Or it could be pricing.

When little and big data are in concert, you can find out a lot about your business.

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Ann Marie Gastineau

Ann Marie

Ann Marie is a demand generation manager at ReadyTalk.

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