The human component of Big Data

You cannot avoid “Big data” if you tried. It’s plastered across every media outlet and promises to change the way business is done. As a research firm Isurus wholeheartedly endorses the two underling principles of how big data can improve business operations: 1) It is far better to manage your business with facts rather than assumptions. 2) In a general sense more data is better than less. However one thing that sometimes gets lost in the hype is that as useful and insightful as big data can be, running a successful business still requires sound human judgment, decisions and calculated risks.

All data—market research, analytics, dashboards and Big Data—provide businesses with guidance and direction. Data shines a light on the path ahead. Sometimes it is narrow spotlight; sometimes it is a broad halogen lamp. That said data only illuminates the landscape, it does not dictate the right path to take – that requires human expertise and judgment.

It is also worth keeping in mind that most technological advances like Big Data typically only provide a temporary competitive advantage. The information and efficiencies gained by the early adopters of ERP, CRM, analytics, dashboards, and mobile devices, provided a competitive advantage over rivals. However, most technologies quickly become commodities and then the basis of how everyday business is done – they lose the power of their competitive differentiation. Real and sustainable competitive advantages of data come from the humans interpreting the data and making sound business decisions. Big Data will provide unprecedented insights into customers, prospects and markets. However, it will be the managers that interpret those insights the best that will lead their markets.