Big data and strategic choice

by Peter Bijkerk

Michael Schrage writes:

Instead of asking, “How can we get far more value from far more data?” successful big data overseers seek to answer, “What value matters most, and what marriage of data and algorithms gets us there?” The most effective big data implementations are engineered from the desired business outcomes in, rather than the humongous data sets out. Amazon’s transformational recommendation engines reflect Bezos’ focus on superior user experience rather than any innovation emphasis on repurposing customer data. That’s real business leadership, not petabytes in search of profit.

Too many executives are too impressed — or too intimidated — by the bigness of the data to rethink or revisit how their organizations really add value. They fear the size of the opportunity isn’t worth the risk. In that regard, managing big data — and the ambitious algorithms that run them — is not unlike managing top talent. What compromises, accommodations and judgment calls will you consider to make them all work well together?

Executives need to understand that big data is not about subordinating managerial decisions to automated algorithms but deciding what kinds of data should enhance or transform user experiences. Big Data should be neither servant nor master; properly managed, it becomes a new medium for shaping how people and their technologies interact.

Big data as an entity part of the strategic decision making of organizations.