Insightful Big Data Conversations

Many executives have read the articles touting that 90% of all data has been created in the past several years. While this news is exciting for data junkies like me, I think it opens the door to a new set of conversations executives and CEOs must have as Big Data and analytics become increasingly accessible and abundant. There are two conversations executives need to have to ensure they are on the right path toward data insight rather than data overload.

“Can we use Big Data to help drive better decision making?”  

According to McKinsey & Company, the productivity and profitability of firms that use Big Data and analytics is 5-6% higher than those of peer firms. However, the best analytics dashboard in the world means nothing if frontline employees do not use it to make informed decisions. It’s important to assess current skills, culture, and decision-making processes while planning any Big Data strategy.

“What data do we have and what data do we need?” 

Many executives mistakenly think the data they have in-house is all they will need. In most cases, data from outside sources add contextual insights that are simply nonexistent otherwise. The focus should be on the quality and relevance of each data point to address business challenges.

While Big Data and analytics can provide a lasting competitive advantage, the most important aspect of any Big Data and analytics initiative rests in the insights gleaned through the data. Once you have the insights, you can focus your attention on making those insights actionable.

 

Christopher Wofford is Digital Media Producer and host of WebSeries at eCornell.
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