Making Big Data Pay

Successful business leaders are learning ways to leverage big data within the organization. According to an independent study by the the Economist Intelligence Unit, the business landscape is dramatically changing based on the massive level of data being collected each daily. While effective use of big data can be daunting, some businesses have effectively utilized big data insights to completely alter the way they do business.[1]

“The world creates 5 exabytes of data every two days,” says, Eric Schmidt, Google’s chief executive officer,  “That is roughly the same amount created between the dawn of civilization and 2003.” Trying to navigate big data has become a dead-end road for some businesses or more likely a confusion of multiple roads. How do you know the best road to take? How do you effectively manage and exploit big data? According to the top leaders interviewed by The Economist Intelligence Unit, there are several Insights on this challenge might help businesses begin to think about big data collection, management and analysis.

  • Effective use of big data can reap financial performance.
  • Exploiting big data requires a focus on business priorities.
  • Talent matters as much as technology.
  • Understanding customers better

1. High Performance Companies Have a Better Handle on Data

Companies who take data collection and analysis seriously tend to outperform their peers who do not. The research indicates that companies that take data seriously tend to become better at utilizing data collection and data analysis technologies. Priority drives decisions that impact the role of data across multiple points in the business. 63% percent of the companies leaders surveyed suggest that the greatest impact of big data in the business has been upon strategic decision-making.

2. Prioritizing Data Based on Business Goals

Many companies waste research dollars on data that does not drive the bottom line. Business leaders suggest that company leaders prioritize potential challenges/research projects based on bottom line goals. Then they should develop a data research and analysis. Companies should start by prioritizing the challenges they want to tackle, and then build an appropriate data strategy around those objectives.

3. Great Technology Cannot Solve Poor Talent

Data driven thinking needs to permeate a business, impacting employees throughout the organization. Businesses need an effective strategy for attracting effective data scientists and communicating insights throughout organization. Not all companies can find or afford top data scientists but this does not leave them outside the net. A variety of industries are developing external talent pools that can serve organizations needing big data insights.

4. Improving Customer Communication and Engagement

While businesses use big data at every level of the organization, the Economist Intelligence Unit reports that 63% of the organizations surveyed considered marketing and communication as “important” or “extremely important.” Understanding who are customers and how to best engage customers is fundamental for the long-term success of most companies. Big data is challenging long held assumptions about customer base and helpful businesses communicate with their customers more effectively.

The Economist Intelligence Unit concludes that “data drive thinking” should permeate the business, helping staff ask better questions and pinpoint challenges more effectively.

[1] “Big Data: Lessons from the Leaders.” The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited 2012.