Big Data

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Does Your Company Collect Data — Or Hoard It?

As it has become clearer that data offers value to companies, some organizations are tempted to take a “more is better” approach. But there’s a fine line between collecting data that offers value and hoarding data, which ultimately proves counterproductive. Ransbotham’s Three Laws of Data Collection offer guidance.

Randy Bean
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Big Data Fatigue?

Some people suggest that the concept of “big data” is nearing the end of its fifteen minutes of fame. They couldn’t be more wrong — because big data isn’t just about managing social media, unstructured data or massive data sets. It is an approach to data and analytics that finds new ways of looking at information — and it’s here to stay.

Thomas H. Davenport
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Harnessing Quant Power

A new book by Thomas H. Davenport and Jinho Kim says that if companies can’t turn all the data they’re swimming in into better decision making through quantitative analytics, they’re “probably creating suboptimal performance.” The book, Keeping Up with the Quants: Your Guide to Understanding and Using Analytics, is geared toward executives who are not analytics experts but whose jobs require them to deal with those who have such expertise, both inside and outside their organizations.

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Turning Big Data Into Smart Data

Current thinking has big data and analytics turning companies into data-driven powerhouses. But just having data doesn’t make a company smarter; if companies don’t know how to use data well in the first place, it can actually prevent companies from making the transition to data-driven operations. Jeanne Ross, the director of MIT’s Center for Information Systems Research, says that companies can build cultures that encourage people, even low-level employees, to work well with data by using evidence-based management.

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Big Data That’s Good for the Public

Facts: 900 million. Active sources: more than 100,000. Data sets: 30,000, with 200 million time series and 1.5 billion fact values.

Link all these data sources together and what do you get? Timely, if not crucial, contextual information about markets, trends, competitors, products and consumer opinions.

This is the promise of DOPA, a project funded under the umbrella of the European Union.

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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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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.

Image courtesy of Flickr user KJGarbutt.

Finding Value in the Information Explosion

Today’s companies process more than 60 terabytes of information annually, about 1,000 times more than a decade ago. But how well are companies managing the data and capitalizing on the opportunities it presents?

To answer these questions, seven IT research centers studied data-related activities at 26 corporations and large nonprofit organizations. The research shows that while the IT unit is competent at storing and protecting data, it cannot make decisions that turn data into business value.

Image courtesy of Flickr user Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com.
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The Emergence of the Extra-Rational Manager

Big Data is often associated with big numbers, but less often with a big picture. The basic question — How can increasing the quantity, velocity and variety of captured data really impact how people manage? — can go unanswered. But in a MIT Sloan Executive Education course Big Data: Making Complex Things Simpler, MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Alex Pentland offer that big picture view of the economic, societal and managerial transformations that they see on the horizon.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user graysky.

All Fired Up in Massachusetts: The State’s New Wave of Big Data Companies

The state of Massachusetts is a major U.S. center of big data, says Stephen O’Leary, an M&A advisor with Aeris Partners and executive committee member of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council. It’s only poised to get hotter.

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Should Information Have an Expiration Date?

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We should give our information delete dates, says Mayer-Schönberger. Should information be finite? Should it cease to exist after a certain point? On the face of it, an expiration date on information sounds like a wild idea.

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Image courtesy of Flickr user Nathan Eal Photography.

Why Companies Have to Trade “Perfect Data” for “Fast Info”

Companies have been trained to think about data all wrong, say Attivio’s Ali Riaz and Sid Probstein. “Analytics don’t have to be based on super-precise data,” they say. “The report doesn’t have to be perfect. It needs to capture the behavior, not the totality of it.”

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How Analytics Can Get You Better Medical Treatment

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We talk a lot at MIT SMR about the smart ways company leaders are sorting through avalanches of data to make better decisions. (Links to our most current articles on The New Intelligent Enterprise are here.) In the world of medicine, analytics has a special kind of urgency.

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