Why You Don’t Have to Have Millions of Users to Have Big Data Problems

You don’t have to be eBay to have problems with Big Data.

By 2020 there will be 44 trillion gigabytes of information out there; about ten times today’s amount. Soon, we’ll be measuring data by zettabytes — 1 sextillion bytes. ‘Big data’ is the percentage of that data that is useful to be mined – currently sitting at around 22% of the total.

Big data is used by big organisations like Google, Amazon and Facebook to target their advertising. It’s been used to fight terrorism, work towards a cure for cancer and predict the spread of Ebola. Big organisations with millions of users leverage the masses of information stored there on a daily basis.

But the opportunities and challenges of big data aren’t restricted to those with millions of users. Industry experts agree that you don’t need have millions of concurrent users to experience problems with Big Data – the challenges of analysing big data increasing all the time in volume and complexity are the same.

In fact, a recent study by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Big Data: Harnessing a Game-Changing Asset , revealed that almost half of those who listed big data as a major organisational issue reported revenues of $500 million or less – the small to medium organisations with far fewer users than the likes of eBay or Google.

But we don’t like to start on a negative. So we thought we’d begin this article by discussing ways that big data can help small organisations with fewer users, as well as large ones.  

 “In many ways, big data is suited to small business in ways that it never was for big business – even the most potent insights are valueless if your business is not agile enough to act on them in a timely fashion.”

Bernard Marr, Business Standard

For many small businesses and organisations, big data is dismissed as something only big organisations do. It sounds expensive, difficult and time-consuming and small businesses feel ill-equipped to deal with the terabytes and petabytes of data in front of them. But, as Duncan Ross, Director of Data Science at Analytics Service Provider Teradata told the BBC last year:

“Big data presents many business opportunities. But you have to be prepared to pivot and follow where the data – and the money – takes you.” 

Big data is relative, and so are the problems. Whatever the size of your organisation or number of big data users, you’ll eventually reach a point where the volume, variety and speed of your data become too much. The only question is when you reach that point, which is often relative to your size. Any organisation, regardless of user numbers, can leverage big data to its advantage and to meet its individual business goals – all it takes is agility & smart analysis.

“Whether your revenues are $1 million or $100 billion, knowing how to manage and analyse data is critical to success”


The key to avoiding the problems associated with big data is analytics – allowing you to determine what to do with your data, which data is relevant and how to appropriately store your data, too. By using the right analytics to solve your big data problems, you’ll start to see big data as the opportunity it is, not just a challenge for organisations with millions of users.

Leveraging big data to your advantage depends on in-house experts who know what they are doing. Are you looking for the right candidate to help you overcome your Big Data problems? Get in touch today! We’ll be happy to help.