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Understanding the Human Side of Big Data

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The idea of “Big Data” has generated a lot of hype, especially in recent years as the variety of data sources increases and affordable new data tools appear. While success with big data analytics is not guaranteed, the chance for discovering operational improvements from your own data still makes it attractive. It’s been estimated that a large retailer can increase margins by over 60 percent through process insights. Increasingly in the social media era, big data is shaping consumer-brand relationships.

For many companies, however, big data is not providing the anticipated returns. The value in data-driven decisions seems to be elusive. Colin Strong, the author of “Humanizing Big Data”, advises looking to the human rather than the technical side to obtain positive results.

Companies need to re-examine big data operations in terms of the humans involved. This can mean not only the consumers feeding a flood of data points, but the data analysts themselves.

The Humans Behind the Data

Regarding data analysis as a statistical exercise is missing out on the human circumstances that generate the information. Human social environments can shape consumer preferences rapidly and profoundly. Basing decisions solely on the numbers means that potential changes are missed, and brands could miss spotting …

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