Big data. Big talk. Why does it seem like every company is making it big with big data—except yours? I’m here to tell you this: stop worrying. Despite the boasting, most businesses have yet to be successful with their big data initiatives.

According to research conducted by New Vantage Partners (NVP) though 85 percent of companies are trying to be data-driven, only 37 percent of that number say they’ve been successful.

So what is causing these false starts, particularly in small businesses?

41 percent of small businesses say their big data initiative didn’t happen because of business resistance or key stakeholders not understanding big data.

Many small businesses hype big data projects like love crazed teenagers; they rush to have their first “big data experience” only to do it badly and after think: what was all the fuss about. The truth is, you aren’t going to be great at big data the first go-round; you’re not going to know what you are doing.

You need to understand big data and how it can be leveraged to improve your small business, because without it you’re in trouble. 65 percent of leaders say failure to get on board with big data will risk your organization becoming irrelevant or uncompetitive.

RECOMMENDATION:  If you don’t make big data a priority to future proof your business model, you will fall behind your rivals. In this article, we’ll explain what big data means for your small business and outline 3 highly-rated small business analytics products on to get you started.


Here’s what we’ll cover:

What does big data mean for my small business?
Why does my small business need big data analytics?
Databox  /  Tableau  /  Sisense
4 actions to drive big data adoption in your small business
Learn how to select a big data analytics product

What does big data mean for my small business?

According to Gartner, big data is high-volume, high-velocity and/or high-variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing that enable enhanced insight, decision making, and process automation.

This definition has about as much feeling as the clinical definition for love—let’s see if we can come up with something a bit more actionable.

I like to think of big data as a mosaic.

Big data is like a mosaic - mosaic map of the worldBring your data together to see the full picture of your business. (Source: Kai Schreiber, Flickr

Your business is collecting data from everything. Some of it is orderly and easily dealt with by existing file structures and systems. Inventory data or point-of-sale data are examples of this “structured content.”

The problem is that there is another type of content your small business collects: unstructured content. This is data like images, videos, social media messages, or user comments—rich data—which business are not equipped to easily store or manage.

Unstructured data makes up the majority of big data: the day-to-day operational business information that holds tremendous amount of insight, but is unwieldy to learn from due to its massive volume. Today’s technology also cannot easily analyze it. Just think of how smoothly the CTRL+F search works for text, but no quality equivalent search function exists for photographs or video.

The purpose of big data analytics is to make sense of the data relationships of unstructured content, and it works by weaving each individual piece of content—an image on its own— into a single image to gain collective insight: a mosaic.

Information is exploding—you need big data analytics

Big data analytics allows you to gain visibility into your organization. With better visibility, you can make smarter decisions—based on data—quicker. You can keep track of bottlenecks, KPIs, and critical metrics with real-time analytics. And you can prepare for trends and respond faster to changes with predictive analytics.

But you can’t leverage your big data on your own—there’s simply too much. According to IBM, today, every human, every minute, is creating 1.7 MB of data. Try and imagine how much data a single person generates every year.

This is too much data to manipulate with spreadsheets and data analysts. To take advantage of your big data to make better decisions you need to enlist a big data analytics product to help:

  • Manage the massive volume of your small business big data
  • Root out data you’ve lost or are no longer thinking about
  • Create visualizations to provide insight without coding or analytics knowledge
  • Share dashboards to rapidly spread information to the rest of the organization

Here are 3 highly-rated small business analytics products on to get you started.



Source: Databox YouTube

Differentiated by its fully featured mobile app and mobile-first experience. Databox is committed to low-code functionality. Best suited for teams with lighter-skilled users.

Free Trial Yes
Free Version Available
Price Starting from $59/month
Mobile Yes
Real-Time Analytics Yes
Predictive Analytics No
Notable Feature Databox Designer
Notable Benefit Mobile-first design / No coding requirements
Slogan “Do you know how your business performed today?” “The most advanced mobile designer”
Notable Users BrandBuilder Solutions, streamcreative, the whole brain group



Source: Tableau YouTube

Stands out from the rest with consistent top finishes in analyst rankings. Data analysis powered by Tableau creates a narrative story with interactive, shareable visualizations. Best suited for teams with moderately-skilled users.

Free Trial Yes
Free Version Free version unavailable
Price Starting at $35/month
Mobile Yes
Real-Time Analytics Yes
Predictive Analytics Yes
Notable Feature Tableau Bridge
Notable Benefit Minimal IT resources required / Highly intuitive
Slogan “Make your data make an impact”
Notable Users Coca-Cola, LinkedIn, Macy’s, Nike, Walmart



Source: Sisense YouTube

50 percent of BI software queries will be over search features, natural language processing, or voice recognition by 2020. Sisense is unique in its pioneering of voice recognition features, and under the hood, offers the most advanced analytics options among the three highlighted solutions. Best suited for teams with moderate to high-skilled users.

Free Trial Yes
Free Version Free version unavailable
Price Contact for pricing
Mobile Yes
Real-Time Analytics Yes
Predictive Analytics Yes
Notable Feature Sisense In-Chip engine
Notable Benefit Shortest time to insight
Slogan “Simplifying business analytics for complex data”
Notable Users AIRBUS, Fujitsu, Nasdaq, PHILIPS,

4 Actions to drive big data adoption in your small business

Adopt a big data strategy or risk falling into obsolescence as predicted by 3 out of 5 business leaders. Follow these recommendations to help you adopt a big data strategy in your small business:

1. Determine big data opportunities in your organization: deeper insight into relationships between collected data, such as social media mentions or data gathered on customer habits, can be used to make better decisions, drive sales, and boost growth.

2. Build the business case to attain support of your team, but be prepared to pry away the misconception that big data is just for big business.

3. Invest in small business big data products, which are opening doors for small businesses to overcome technical limitations. Big data tools with visualization features allow small businesses to reap the benefits of big data analytics—no specialized skillset required—by making important metrics about your big data transparent and actionable.

4. Stop making decisions without justification; make the right decisions validated by insight extracted from your small business big data. This is what it means to be a data driven company.



Products identified in this article were shortlisted based on average user reviews data (type: overall rating) aggregated from Eligible reviews data is published by users whose disclosed company size is less than 200 people / published review between April 2016 – April 2018.

Learn how to select a big data analytics product

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