“Little Data” is Key to Better Decision-Making & Productivity

By now, you’ve likely heard the term “big data,” referring to the ability to manipulate, analyze and report on massive amounts of data. Companies use big data to gain marketing insights, identify key trends, do scientific research, and assist in strategic plan development.

But for most small and mid-size businesses, their real competitive advantage does not currently lie in “big data.” It lies in what we at TNSC call “little data.” This is the data that already exists in company systems and that can be used to develop real-time key metrics about their company’s performance, processes and people. Producing these reports and dashboards does not require massive amounts of storage and computing horsepower – it simply requires some programming, following some thought on what metrics and reports would be most useful.

Ultimately, a company’s results come down to only one thing – the quality of their decision-making. And turning data in actionable information – in order to make better decisions, faster – can transform business results.

For years here at TNSC, for example, we had plenty of data that we simply had not used for producing useful information, including:

  • Time stamps on client documentation and service requests moving through our systems.
  • A myriad of client-related data points that resided in different systems: client satisfaction survey results in one system, response times to service requests in our service-delivery software, financial information in our accounting system, and information on credits given spread all over the place, to name a few.
  • Data on the status of client contract consumption, services rendered, actual-pricing and list-pricing.