Big Data Moves to Small Businesses . / Credit:

Big data has long been seen as a big opportunity for big businesses. But now, big data, defined as a large amount of data that's difficult to analyze using common database management tools, is on its way for the little guy as well, according to a new 10-year forecast predicting the imminent arrival of a "data democracy" that will empower small business owners and consumers to access a wealth of new information and make smarter, more informed decisions.

As big data continues to grow and proliferate, three important trends will emerge that will have a significant impact of small businesses and consumers, according to a forecast prepared by Emergent Research, a research and consulting firm focused on the small business sector. The study was commissioned by Intuit, a provider of business and financial management solutions.

As access to and the ability to refine massive volumes of information into powerful analytical tools grows, a new data democracy will dawn as data becomes a vital new raw material for small businesses and consumers, the study predicts. Data will become a resource on an even footing with capital and labor.

"Big data has long been seen as a big opportunity for big business,” said Brad Smith, Intuit president and CEO. "We actually think that the biggest opportunity is giving consumers and small businesses the power of data. We look forward to a new era where big data benefits the little guy.”

With people connected through a global grid and mobile devices, data will shape decisions both large and small, inform purchasing decisions and become the glue binding communities and relationships. Data will help people navigate the maze of modern life, the study suggests.

In the process, big data will relocate from Wall Street to Main Street. Small businesses, armed with insights and capabilities that once were the hoarded treasure of corporate giants, will create new ways to operate more efficiently, find new customers, improve their bottom-line results and drive economic growth.

"This research details how consumers and small businesses will benefit from the growth of big data,” said Steve King, partner at Emergent Research.  "We are at the onset of a data revolution that will provide new and meaningful ways for data-empowered consumers and small businesses to connect and engage with their communities, make decisions and simplify their lives."

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