Does Big Data = Better Decisions? 15 experts weigh in

varwwwclientsclient1web2tmpphplC0soz“Big Data” is a catchy term. It’s shorthand  for the collection of large amounts of data from places like web-browser trails, social network communications, sensor and surveillance data. It’s searched for patterns, revelations and insights.
That’s because 90% of the world’s total data has been created in the last two years (source: IBM); only now much of it can be stored in computer clouds instead of large servers providing cost and space advantages.
How are companies using it? Movie studios now combine box office receipts with social networks chatter to provide better algorithms that more accurately forecast revenues and guide marketing investments. Rental car companies match returns by time of day to staff hours to better align operations and give customers better service.
But it’s not the data, it’s what you do with it. Here’s how 15 experts answer: Does Big Data = Better Decisions?

  1.  The volume of corporate data is growing by upwards of 60 per cent each year, the vast majority (73%) feel their competitors make better use of data than they do. And a mere 17% reveal that they use more than 75% of their data, which suggests most companies collect lots of data and have no clue what to do with them all. – Matt Asay, The A Register
  2. Big Data is increasingly about how you go about capturing and analyzing transaction and interaction data. – Tasso Argyros, Co-President, Teradata Aster
  3. At present we are living in at least three periods that build upon digital data: the information era, the social era, and the Big Data era. – Jaap Bloem, Sogeti
  4. Content is the essential glue that will bind the services company to customers as they both navigate the big data wave. – Josh Feldmeth, Interbrand
  5. Big data is the result of a convergence of trends. Technology to collect, manage and store data today is way cheaper, and dramatically quicker than ever; data is viewed as really valuable –especially understanding customer behavior, or improving customer satisfaction, or increasing traffic flow – and a third trend is understanding that gut feel alone in today’s complicated world is simply not the way to run organizations, big or small. – Forsyth Communications
  6. More and more marketers require garnering their analytical ability to understand the space based on large amount of consumer data. – Scott Frank, Econsultancy
  7. There has always been more data than companies can analyze. The big data hype is not about the challenge that there is so much data all around us; it is about the opportunity that today we can turn this huge amount of data into business value! – Holger Kisker,  Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
  8. Data is “the new ‘Oil.'” Just as oil once fired dreams a century or more ago, data is today driving a vision of economic and technical innovation. If “crude” data can be extracted, refined, and piped to where it can impact decisions in real time, its value will soar. – Bill Gerhart, Kate Griffin, Ronald Kleeman, Cisco
  9. Transforming “big data” to enable better decisions requires significant work. – Charlie Peters, Emerson
  10. An article in The Harvard Business Review published October 2012 (Big Data: The Management Revolution) advocated using big data for making better decisions. There is no big data cookie cutter — the use cases are all over the map. – James Powell, Editorial Director, Business Intelligence Journal
  11. Fewer than 40% of employees have the right processes and skills to make good use of the analysis. Think of this as a company’s insight deficit. To overcome it, “big data” needs to be complemented by “big judgment.” – Shevtank Shah, Executive Director, Corporate Executive Board
  12. Some say that data is the new oil in no small part from their exceptional data management, collection, and analysis methods. All else being equal, in 2013 and beyond, companies that understand and take advantage of Big Data will do better than those that don’t. – Phil Simon, author of Too Big to Ignore: The Business Case for Big Data
  13. The balance is different for every organization.  Both cultural (product-driven, sales-driven, content-driven, etc) and financial (investment, overhead, legacy IT, etc) balance must be understood in order for any usage of Big Data to be successful.  And this is where many firms are losing their way. – Christian Ward, Chief Data Officer, Infogroup (whose chart is at the top)
  14. The value of big data is hugely exaggerated, because insight (the most valuable aspect of big data) is typically a few orders of magnitude less than the extractable information. – Dr. Michael Wu, Principal Scientist of Analytics, Lithium
  15.  Big Data can detect industry trends, assist with pricing, and, overall, help your organization be more competitive in the marketplace. – Erica Zlatsin, Marketing Communication Manager, XPlus

If you know the decisions you want to make before you start looking at the data, Big Data does lead to better decision making. That’s what I draw from these opinions. What do you think?
Do you have an interest in knowing if Big Data can help your business? Do you believe Big Data helps make better decisions?

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