Is “small data” a cure for big data headaches?

It’s hard not to run across the term “Big Data” these days, which refers to the idea of mining large amounts of in-house data for business intelligence/strategic purposes. Solution providers are very busy promoting plenty of new tools that promise to sift and sort data for new benefits.

Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Compfight cc Photo Credit: JD Hancock via Compfight cc

But all is not well in the big data kingdom. Determining ROI of big data efforts seems to be a big issue, according to a recent article on the Big Data. Big Decisions website. The article “Big Data ROI Still Tough To Measure” cites a recent IDG and Kapow Software survey of more than 200 IT and business leaders.

While more than 85% of the 200 IT pros surveyed agreed big data would help with data-driven decisions, just 23% said big data projects were a success (53% said they were “somewhat successful”). That’s a big difference between hope and results.

Coming from the more humble side of data in contract management software, it’s easy to see the forest through some of those “big data” trees. Companies often find real financial benefits from paying attention to  (for lack of a better phrase) “small data.”

Consider this factoid: an article on the Selling Power website cited a study that revealed just how important management of every day information – like sales contracts – can be.

According to this study, poor management of sales contracts can result in “revenue leakage” of five percent to nine percent. Let’s assume for a moment that’s the range in gross revenues lost. Even at five percent, that’s a huge number in today’s economy.

Contract management solutions, such as Contract Assistant, can help sales departments by alerting them when contract renewals are pending or even just reminding them to implement a mid-contract review of compliance with service terms and conditions.

Is there a possibility of a breach? Are payables getting paid properly and accurately? Are there unexpected operational expenses popping up on servicing that client? These are all “routine” questions that can pop up from a mid-contract review, and are part-and-parcel of the main benefits of contract management.

So as exciting as big data can be, consider the more mundane (but financially powerful) benefits from “small data” — like contract management.