Have you seen the “unbig” Smart Automobile commercial from 2011? If you haven’t, click here to watch the 30-second clip. The commercial focuses on one thing: being big. Everyone from A-list celebrities to business moguls to children to television anchors repeatedly say the word “big”—that is, until one man in the middle of a team meeting sees a smart car outside of the window and challenges his employees to think small as well.


At AAJ, we like to consider business data from both perspectives. The world is screaming “BIG!” but there are also “small” breadcrumbs of data floating around that, if leveraged and analyzed correctly, can yield positive results for enterprises. In fact, an incredible 80 percent of the value derived from a company’s data analytics report is taken from only 20 percent of the data being tracked within an organization, according to Richard Wang, interface analyst at iNTERFACEWARE. Wang spoke as a guest during our recent webinar titled, “The Big Impact of Small Data: It’s All About Actionable Data.”


Sometimes, to improve operational efficiencies, generate higher ROI and get the most value from your existing workflows and processes, you have to think small. Below are some key take-aways for business and IT leaders looking to gain from accessible, understandable and actionable small data. Feel free to peruse them, or simply click here to download the full webinar recording.

Wang uses healthcare organizations as an example of how businesses can extract small data (what Wang defines as the “subset of massive information one is trying to collect”) from multiple disparate systems to attain insurmountable value.


In healthcare, this would mean taking a more granular look at those larger, overarching machines (i.e., electronic medical record (EMR), enterprise resource planning (ERP), billing, lab and hospital information systems) to access concrete, structured small data that can lead to bigger, more impactful improvements. For example, Wang suggests leveraging and analyzing patient administration information within the EMR or ERP system. By starting small in this manner, IT can collect and use data to create dashboards that can monitor key performance indicators like patient wait times, use objectives and quality measures


The goal, according to Wang, is to seamlessly combine such things as management, financial and customer population data to create a tightly integrated management data analytics tool. Such a tool can more quickly and efficiently identify waste within an organization and ensure better customer care, he says. Eventually, in today’s digital world where data only grows smaller and more specific, business leaders will need to come to terms with the fact that they need assistance from various consultants; mathematicians, for data mining; and analysts, to generate graphs and reporting docs, for presenting to key decision makers.


Click here to see how AAJ’s team of consultants and integration and analytics experts can help you get started with your small data strategy.