I had a significant insight about the future of Big Data and small business this week that I wanted to share with you. The names have been changed to protect the innocent …
I was working with a small company who was bidding on a huge job to handle the maintenance on a fleet of corporate jets. Here is the conversation with the company’s founder/president/CMO (all the same person!):
ME: Well what are your points of differentiation? How do you stand out?
CUSTOMER: I don’t know. We all do the same thing. We maintain and repair jets. Everybody in the business has the same tools, the same skilled technicians and it has just turned into a battle over price, price, price.
So you have no distinguishing technology? Nothing that sets you apart?
No. We have started to download and store data about the performance of customer planes but we really don’t know what to do with it.
Wait. What was that? You are downloading data about the customer jets?
Yes, we have hours and hours of data that tracks performance in the air but we are just storing it at this point. We may use it some day I guess.
Are your competitors doing this too?
They could I guess but I think we are probably a little more ahead on that then them. But what does it matter?
My friend, what you don’t realize is that you are no longer in the jet repair business. You are in the data business!
We then began to work on a ways they could differentiate themselves from the competition by manipulating the data to create value-added services: