Why big data really matters Premium

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While most leaders agree on the importance of the big data phenomenon, not many know how to take advantage of it in concrete terms. Business Digest presents the work of Thomas Davenport to help you use big data to enhance the creativity of your company, improve operations, and generate more customer value.


Stimulate innovation
Systematically studying the maximum amount of available data may, at first sight, seem time-consuming, mechanical and lacking in inspiration—the very opposite, in fact, of an innovative approach. But the best ideas come from the ability to find new connections between existing variables after rigorous analysis. Apple, one of the world’s most creative companies, collects thousands of kilobytes of data every day on products sold to inform the design of future products.

Improve operations
Big data can optimize numerous processes within an organization. Big data can also contribute to operational teams, by providing accurate information on actions carried out on the ground; for example, UPS checks the movements of its vehicles and optimizes their journeys using on-board sensors in its delivery truck, enabling the company’s drivers to reduce the distance they covered by 136 million km in 2011, saving over 30 million liters of gasoline.

Respond better to customer expectations
When used to design innovative products and services, big data creates value for a company. The information that it provides can refine existing offers to make them more accessible to customers. In the tourism industry, travel websites offer their prospective customers itineraries, tours, and hotels based on their request history. In the distribution sector, reviewing videos shot by cameras at sales outlets helps to optimize the customer experience—and boost turnover.

Business leader testimony
KB Kookmin VP of Sales William O’Hara explains how a big data initiative developed for his 110-person sales force enabled the identification and subsequent department-wide diffusion of a previously undetected best practice. The result? A 15% increase in sales revenue.



Read our dossier :
Why big data really matters

Based on Big Data at Work: Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the Opportunities by Thomas H. Davenport (Harvard Business Review Press, February 2014), Keeping Up with the Quants co-authored by Davenport with Jinho Kim (Harvard Business Review Press, June 2012), “Mobilizing your C-suite for big data analytics” by Brad Brown, David Court and Paul Willmott (McKinsey Quarterly, November 2013), “How to Get Over Your Inaction on Big Data” by Phil Simon (Harvard Business Review, February 2014), “Thriving in a Big Data World” by Aden Hayashi (MIT Sloan Management Review, Winter 2014) and an interview with William O’Hara, VP Sales, KB Kookmin Wealth Management and Investment, South Korea, April 2014.
Business Digest N° 246, May 2014

Watch the video :
Tom Davenport on Big Data and Analytics

Thomas Davenport talks about how large companies are pursuing Big Data.