Do big insights only come from big data?

I recently saw a funny video on big data that I just had to share. The concept of big data is that meaningful information can be extract from voluminous data — the kind that is too big for a standard database.* Nonetheless, big data is valuable in that it can predict what customers want (before they know that they actually want it!):

Big data is so hot right now primarily because (A) there’s lots of data sources (eg: Google Analytics, eCommerce transactions, in-store/catalogue orders, social media, etc.) and (B) data can be cheaply processed. But it seems that marketers believe that big insights only come with big data! To that point, it also seems that small data is all but useless! But is that really true?

Well, while bigger may seem better I recently was reminded learned in my Data Analysis MOOC (aka online class) that big insights can also be found in smaller data sets! It just isn’t always feasible to have a super-sized data set — client may not have a large amount of data. And fortunately for them and for data heads, small data along with inferential data analysis (along with random sampling) can deliver big insights.

To get started, you just need a business problem, a theory and data to prove (or disprove) your idea! So don’t let the lack of big data stop you from doing the analysis.

*Big data is more than just voluminous (see O’Reilly).