It’s very easy to get caught up in all the hype of Big Data. Fast-moving analytics, ginormous datasets, and complex, diverse data sources are the new hot thing. But it is important for us to take a step back and remember that big data would be nothing without the little data that goes along with it.

In reality, little data are key to the success of any big data project.

Little data are you “traditional” performance metrics, and these KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) are what measure the success of a business. These metrics and this data might include: customer retention rate, market share, conversion rate, or dozens of other metrics that measure a company’s success.  Without good, clean and standardized  KPIs, it is close to impossible to have good big data initiatives.

Without the KPIs, the other data (the big data) is practically worthless – data, alone, is essentially useless. It’s just a massive set of numbers, with no context and no meaning. Even when it is analyzed, it is simply knowledge, without action. But when it is used in conjunction with KPIs, it becomes highly valuable. The KPIs make help turn the data into actionable insight that can be used to improve decision-making and performance.

For example, let’s say a retail business wants to used big data to develop promotional strategies based on customer preferences, trends and customized offers. But without the traditional KPIs, how do they know if the promotional strategies actually worked?

 

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