It is very common to collect data about customers and then use that information to help your business succeed. But, have you heard of "big data?" It is a little different than the type of data you may have collected before. Specifically, the amount of information collected, how fast it is gathered and how complex it is are different.

Think of the differences as the three V's - variety, velocity and volume. Also, keep in mind that just collecting big data will not do anything for you. Once you have it, analytics need to be applied in order for the data to change the way you do business. Big data must first be gathered, then it must be studied and finally it has to be applied in order to truly work for you. When used correctly, big data can help you work with your target markets and eventually turn a bigger profit.

Using Big Data

How can you use information more effectively? There are five tips that you should utilize when it comes to big data.

1. Get a step ahead of your competitors.

Delve into markets that on the surface may not have anything to do with your industry but actually impact your customers. For instance, many people that work in technology look at what their customers are doing online. However, you should go beyond that to understand what your customers like and are doing when they are not online. While you may not think it is valuable, it actually is. Here are 50 resources for getting the most from analytics.

2. Utilize analytics.

Don't be afraid to put a little bit of time and money into analytics. You do not have to go overboard and call in a data scientist, but you should sit down and figure out how best to use the information you have gathered. Perhaps you need to put together a team out of your staff members or maybe you should speak to an expert about what you have gathered. You could also use new software or apps to look more at your data.

Things change very rapidly and there is a lot of new technology that could really help you when it comes to analytics. It is important to research to figure out what you need to be doing to help your business, rather than just using something you may have had experience with in the past. Look at this technology that utilises big data to make for smarter employee insights from Questback.

3. Train your workers.

Spend some money to make sure that your workers know how to utilize the data. Do not just ask someone to work with Google Analytics without training them; they will not be able to make sense of what they are seeing. Analysing the data is important if you want to know how your business should proceed going forward.

You can purchase technology to help you on this journey, but ultimately, it is how you interpret your data that is the most important piece of the puzzle. Remember never to assume anything; only make decisions based on facts that you have gathered from your information. Additionally, training workers improves morale and incentivises staff.

4. Be creative.

Things are quickly changing in our society and we need to change with it. If you want to succeed, you must use your data and get creative; in order to stay on top of the competition, you must be innovative and inventive. Don't show your hand; you should try and keep the ways that you use data fairly quiet. However, don't be afraid to think outside the box and do something a little different that will set you apart from all the rest. If you really want to make money, your business has to be unique and think differently than the rest. Don't be afraid to move away from tradition and be willing to use new strategies that come along with big data collection. You have some powerful resources at your disposal, so do not waste the opportunities that have been given to you.