“The amount of data in our world has been exploding, and analyzing large data sets—so-called big data—will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus.”
Research Study by MGI and McKinsey’s Business Technology Office 

Have you heard of a relatively new entrepreneurial framework termed the Lean Start-up? The name is honestly a bit deceiving in that “lean” in this case does not mean less time and money.

Instead think “lean” as in a well-trained athlete who practices incessantly and hires the best, in terms of coaches and equipment. She knows talent is not enough and that the competition and risks of failure are high. But by consistently investing in improving in incremental steps, she will increase her chances of winning over time.

The way she achieves success is by training, competing, seeing what works and then making small adjustments based on results. Her success is dependent on data – on capturing it, being open to its tough feedback and then absorbing its advice.

With the Internet and technology leaps, big data (once the goldmine of only the largest of corporations) is now available to anyone. Using big data can create value in many ways.

  • You have better decision-making. Rather than gut feel and team member opinions, real market feedback dictates the winner.
  • New products are tested early and often. This reduces the risk in investing big money in products and services that will flop.
  • Big data is the basis for continuous improvement. When you manage-by-the-numbers you can constantly see changes in data, and find ways to boost performance.
  • You are free to be MORE innovative. With data you decide what you want to test and your walk away point. This makes the uncertainty of innovation much less scary.
  • You have the tools to further refine customer segmentation and provide more precisely tailored products or services.

How can you start using “big data” to improve your company? George Roumeliotis, who heads up a data science group at Intuit recommends a simple 6-step framework for each business question:

  • My understanding of the business problem
  • How I will measure the business impact
  • What data is available
  • The initial solution hypothesis
  • The solution
  • The business impact of the solution

Do you use big data to improve your business? Share in the Comments section below.

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