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How to Use Small Data in Your CMS

Word on the street these days is that big data isn’t as big a deal as it used to be. This opinion reflects the hangover that happened after businesses rushed to adopt data-analytics systems, and found that their business problems weren’t majestically cured after all.

Part of the problem is the misinterpretation of “big data” as a single product, when in fact it is an umbrella term that can cover any variety of tools. There’s data collection, data analysis, data visualization … the list goes on.

There’s also the data that is only relevant to you, within your content management system for certain purposes. I call this “small data.” It doesn’t have massive aspirations, it doesn’t require a million-dollar IT investment, but it’s incredibly useful for the specific application you need it for. It can be accessed through your CMS either via a plug-in or natively within the CMS.

Here are just a few ways to use small data:

Find your “right people” and reconnect them to the original source that brought them to you. Gain a comprehensive understanding of the influencers in your virtual community and their online habits and trends. Use customized reports highlight the key metrics of your virtual community that matter to your site.

Track activity and visitors as they engage with your site. Understand how your customers are reaching your product. Determine which features on your site are most popular, who is using them, and how so you can effectively plan any future updates. Get comprehensive insight into the ways your customers are connecting with you across platforms. Acquia Analytics is a great tool to help you understand your audience while helping you understand the way your audience interacts with your site.

Create a multilingual global social network for your business. When you use in-workflow translation that features a crowdsourced language translation and localization component, you can engage and grow a social network around your business, while at the same time creating a unique user experience for every visitor, regardless of location or language. Harness your community for translation, and they’ll continue to engage with your company by offering their knowledge. Users, meanwhile, get the right translations on the webpages they need to see most. Combined with analytics, crowdsourced translation can be a powerful tool.

These are just a few examples of how “small data” can have big benefits in your business. How will you be using it?


Posted on by Allen Bonde (not verified).

Enjoyed the post, and wanted to share a couple resources since a few of us have been following/inciting the small data "movement" over the past couple years. First off, Open Knowledge in the UK has been a key voice and has an excellent blog (http://blog.okfn.org/). And second, I've written on the topic and have published a number of pieces including a definition for small data based on research I did when I was at DCG, on my blog (http://www.smalldatagroup.com ). Happy to share other resources if readers are interested.

Allen (@abonde)

Posted on by neil maycock (not verified).

I love this! I think tracking exactly where the source of information came from, whether this is a lead, resource material or helpful comment is vital! However, having a way to record this and view all other communications at a glance is the key!.

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