Data & Analytics

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The Pitfalls of Using Online and Social Data in Big Data Analysis

Is Twitter a litmus test for how a segment of society is acting — or thinking — at any given moment? Not quite. Striking new research out of Princeton University and the University of North at Carolina Chapel Hill suggests that inferences based on how people use social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook should be reconsidered because these platforms represent skewed samples from which it is difficult to draw accurate conclusions.

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Big Data’s Travails Don’t Mean It’s Derailed

Executives are growing dismissive of Big Data’s value. Even the best companies can struggle to get good results from their data. But data isn’t getting smaller, it’s getting much, much larger. Corporate executives should look at what’s emerging from universities like MIT, where researchers are beginning to get answers to longstanding big questions in healthcare, public policy and finance.

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How eBay Uses Data and Analytics to Get Closer to Its (Massive) Customer Base

You can find just about anything on eBay: A vintage BMW, a Lear jet, a half-million-dollar yacht. From all that activity stems a lot of data and, eventually, information. In conversation with MIT Sloan Management Review contributing editor Renee Boucher Ferguson, Neel Sundaresan, senior director of research at eBay, discusses how eBay uses data and analytics at every level of the company to continuously evolve eBay’s numerous sites and services for buyers and sellers.

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Analytics is Transforming Customer Service: Should We Worry?

Customer service and … cognitive computing? Really?

Yes, it’s happening. A recent Forbes article, IBM’s Watson Now a Customer Service Agent, Coming to Smartphones Soon, describes cognitive computing’s growing influence on customer service at a wide range of consumer-facing organizations — think financial services, telecoms, retail and insurance companies. ANZ Bank in South Africa offers a glimpse into a present that sounds more fictional than real.

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Big Data and Big Change Management: A Path Forward

MIT Sloan School of Management recently held a two-day executive education course, Big Data: Making Complex Things Simpler, designed to provide organizations with both an overview of big data and a few techniques to harness some of the illusive power of data. But in all the discussions that surfaced around the big issues from big data, the reality that many organizations grapple with is change management.

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Educating Executives Online in Four Dimensions

I am the proud recipient of an MIT Sloan Executive Education Course certification. Or, my avatar is.

MIT Sloan’s Big Data 4Dx executive education course, held simultaneously in Cambridge and in the virtual world this April, was the first ever to use a gaming interface. Think Second Life for the professional set.

Through the AvayaLive Engage platform, we online students were transported (as avatars) to a virtual auditorium, the classroom setting for the two-day Big Data: Making Complex Things Simpler course.

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Predicting the Performance of Analytics Talent

The surprising finding that 55% of big data analytics projects are abandoned comes from a recent survey of 300 IT professionals. The most significant challenge with analytics projects, according to the survey? Finding talent. Most (80%) of the respondents said that the top two reasons analytics projects fail is that managers lack the right expertise in house to “connect the dots” around data to form appropriate insights, and projects lack of business context around data.

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Reimagining the Possible with Data Analytics? Some Answers to Your Questions

During our webinar, we described those characteristics that define each group, and what your organization can do to become more like Analytical Innovators — if you’re not there already (in a poll, 13% of audience members identified themselves as Analytical Innovators).

As the hour-long webinar came to a close, we found that there were far more questions than we had time to answer. And we also found that there were far too many intriguing questions to let them go unanswered.

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How Analytics Can Transform Business Models

There are 52 million Latinos in the United States, with $1.5 trillion of purchasing power.

Entravision Communications Corporation a Spanish-language media company, reaches about 96% of that U.S. Latino audience through its numerous television and radio stations and digital platforms. It uses that extraordinary reach to provide media solutions to marketers interested in tapping into the Latino consumer market.

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Lessons From Analytical Innovators

In a webinar recorded in March 2013, the speakers present findings from the recent global study they co-authored, “From Value to Vision: Reimagining the Possible with Data Analytics.” In their study, they identified leaders of the analytics revolution they call “Analytical Innovators.” These companies share three key characteristics: a widely shared belief that data is a core asset; more effective use of more data for faster results; and support for analytics by senior managers shift power and resources to those who make data-driven decisions.

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Competitive Advantage with Data? Maybe … Maybe Not

IBM chairman, president and CEO Virginia Rometty has been making the rounds of late — in February she spoke at the annual IBM investor briefing; in March to the Council on Foreign Relations — espousing a bold new future built upon big data.

At the investors’ meeting, Rometty said that big data — defined as data streaming in to the worlds’ organizations from cloud, mobile and social networks (and presumably mingled with enterprise data) — will be the basis of competitive advantage for every company and every industry for the next decade.

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Analytics and Intuition: Finding Equilibrium

Just before the New Year, New York Times writer Steve Lohr wrote a blog, Big Data is Great. But So Is Intuition, which addresses a question we here at MIT Sloan Management Review have been researching for the past year: With the growing potential of data and analytics, where is the shifting line between analytics and intuition?

Image courtesy of Flickr user MegMoggington.

Team GB: Using Analytics (and Intuition) To Improve Performance

Becoming an elite athlete — or coaching a team of this rarified breed — has as much to do with talent and skill as it does with experience and intuition (not to mention some serious hard work). And data is increasingly part of that mix at the highest echelon of sports: the Olympic Games. At Team GB analytics are used to both monitor the performance of athletes and to predict how well a team will perform. But what could the future hold? Evidence-based coaching — and training.

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From Value to Vision: Reimagining the Possible with Data Analytics

Based on a global executive survey with 2,500+ respondents and interviews with more than two dozen executives and academics, MIT Sloan Management Review and SAS Institute Inc. report on the distinctive characteristics and habits of companies that are very effective at using analytics to compete and innovate. This report offers an in-depth analysis of Analytical Innovators, the early leaders in the analytics revolution that is changing how many companies are managed.

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Organizational Alignment is Key to Big Data Success

Fortune 500 companies are rushing to make big data investments. Who is leading this charge? What are they doing? What are best practices and which practices should be avoided? A recent survey of C-level and function heads from Fortune 500 companies offers a unique glimpse into how the captains of industry are thinking about big data and how their companies are changing because of new insights gleaned from big data analyses.

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Sensing the Future Before It Occurs

GE believes companies will boost productivity and profits by using intelligent sensors and analytics to predict when parts and manufacturing lines will fail. This will smooth operations and accelerate product development. GE is investing in its operational use of intelligent sensors and hiring software developers to create better algorithms for analyzing huge amounts of data. William Ruh, head of GE’s global software development center, discusses the reasons behind GE’s investment in new technologies and why it thinks these will transform the global economy.

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