What is Smart Data? The Right Way to Exploit Your Data

What is Smart Data? The Right Way to Exploit Your Data

By Henri Gisclard-Biondi
Published: 2/19/21

Smart data is a must-have for all data-driven strategies. It is used with larger data lakes than the small data used by small businesses, yet is more actionable and precise than the large amounts of raw data used in big data analytics.

Do you work in the industrial sector, are you a data officer in a large organisation? Are you in charge of the sales, marketing or financial strategy of your company? Learn more about smart data and how to transform big data into valuable information.

Smart data explained


Smart data is a strategic approach to data analysis. It consists in extracting relevant information from a mass of raw data to gain valuable insights. New technologies and the power of analytics help reduce the time needed to sort through data and enable users to access the underlying information hidden behind the numbers.

To make data collection and analysis smarter, you can use technologies such as:

  • The Internet of Things (IoT), which includes smart sensors and smart things, meaning everyday objects connected to the Internet
  • Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, which make use of self-learning algorithms to parse data and dig out insights

Put together, these two technological breakthroughs allow for real-time data collection and provide smarter insights through user-friendly interfaces.

Applications for smart data

Some business sectors can find more value in the use of smart data than others. Industrial companies are one of the main users of smart data technologies: setting up smart sensors on machines and other installations can enable predictive maintenance, and therefore considerable savings and efficiency gains.

Entirely new markets and sectors have been created thanks to the development of smart data. For example, self-driving cars rely on processors to analyse and sort data in real-time. Autonomous vehicles are dependent on instant data analysis. Delays in data processing could lead to life-threatening errors or failure to abide by traffic signals.

Traditional areas of your business can also benefit from smart data: marketing, customer relationship management can all leverage insights to refine customer segmentation or targeting. These advances can make for a better customer experience and boost loyalty rates with more personalisation.

Smart Data vs Big Data: what’s the difference?

Big data analytics were created by data scientists looking to provide a solution to the rapid increase in needs regarding data collection, data storage, and data sharing.

This technology allows databases to process large amounts of data and extract value ever more quickly and accurately. The business models of companies such as Google or Amazon were made possible by the use of big data.

Big data is useful to spot global trends or feed predictions and speculation. However, the amount of data is such that processing times can be quite long and lead to outdated insights.

This is where smart data shines: by analyzing data directly at its source and in real-time, it doesn’t require to collect and store data in an unwieldy central database beforehand. The stream of data can be processed continuously and as soon as the data is generated.

Smart data for businesses

Smart data allows large organisations to save time and make decisions more quickly. Managers don’t have to sort through piles of sometimes irrelevant information, thus they can focus on actionable data to define sales, marketing, financial or logistics strategies.

The goal is to allow operational experts to:

  • avoid wasting their time on data analysis, a field that they may not have a complete understanding of
  • make data more valuable and useful for specific operational challenges (launching a marketing campaign for example)

Achieving these goals means:

  • personalizing and contextualizing data analysis
  • saving on costs, but also generating more value
  • making the decision process more agile
  • being able to anticipate and avoid risks

How to go from big data to smart data?

You’ve probably already been confronted with the sheer amount of data generated by your own business. In the digital world, tracking behaviors and analyzing the performance of your website, marketing campaigns and more has become the new norm. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are used in all steps of project management and decision-making. The massive amount of information collected might make you wonder how you could turn the complex numbers and crude graphs into actionable insights.

Making the change from big data to smart data might seem hard at first glance. Specific tools are needed to make the jump. Smart analytics tools are provided by big players like Google, and newcomers specialized in smart data like Mosaic.

Google Cloud offers services like Looker, a data platform designed to be used by all people in your company, not just data analysts. The data generated by each click on your website, or each order made, can be collected and analyzed in real-time. Everyone on your team can use this Business Intelligence tool to create dynamic reports and share them easily to make decision-making smoother.

Mosaic’s solution focuses on real-time analysis for financial markets to warn about risks and detect opportunities as fast as possible. This service demonstrates how smart analytics tools can provide valuable advice to your executives. Day by day, business intelligence tools come closer and closer to assuming the role of reliable advisers.

Be smart with your data

Why waste your time collecting irrelevant data that will remain dormant on your database? Why waste money to centralize, store and parse vast quantities of information?

Data can be turned into gold, and that’s not to say you should overlook its immense potential. Your activity generates data with each click, each visit a user makes on your website. The challenge is to use this raw resource wisely and extract its value with the right tools.

Use smart data to focus on what should really drive your business decisions and help you expand your business. More efficient analytics tools can help you get ahead and gain a real competitive advantage. A dedicated Business Intelligence software might be required, however, you are guaranteed to reap precious returns on this investment!

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