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Big Data: Getting the Basics Right

Big data is truly nothing less than a business-world revolution that in the next few years, I believe, will make business decision-making much more intelligent and calculated than it is today.

While designing a dynamic and flexible business-intelligence system is crucial to the analysis of big data and its transformation into knowledge, it’s much more important to first stop and design the questions you want the data to answer. In a recent article in Strategy + Business Magazine, David Meer, a partner at Booz & Company and analytics expert, talks about the basic of big data. Here are his four rules to getting big data right:

It Starts with a Theory: Analyzing the needs and consumption patterns of the consumer from the data, without defining at least one hypothesis that guides the analysis, is equivalent to searching for a needle in a haystack. Unless you have some idea of what you are looking for, big data has the potential to send you on a wild goose chase that will not lead to any real insight.

A Day in the Life: It is important to gain a deep and holistic understanding on the life of the consumer, using various methods and sources of data. Marketers and companies often get overexcited with newest, most-advanced data technology and decide to use only it, thinking it will provide them with the deepest understanding. However, what they get in actuality is a one-dimensional picture of their consumer.

Learning to Walk: It is important to start small. As you gain insight from data, you might be surprised of what you find out. It may lead you to question a certain product, strategy, or service, and that can be overwhelming. This is why it is important to first choose a specific question, analyze the answer to it, and figure out actions to take. After successfully tackling one “big data” analysis, you will feel more comfortable moving on to bigger issues.

Getting Back to Basics: Investing in analytics is addictive, in a good way. Companies who start investing in analytics almost never stop, because they see the benefits of the investment in improving their position in the market. Take that into consideration when you start your road to doing smarter business.
I hope this gave you a little insight into the basics of big data and what you must do before diving into the numbers and statistics.

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