Top bosses admit: Tweets, Facebook Likes influence decisions
'This guy in his shed lol'd at our product - axe it'
Nine out of 10 execs think Big Data - the hoarding of information from server logs to social networking posts - is the fourth most important input to a business. The execs questioned in a survey published yesterday described data sets as the fourth factor of production after land, labour and capital.
The research by the Economist Intelligence Unit and funded by Capgemini examines the role of Big Data in influencing management decisions. Of the 600+ senior execs questioned, 65 per cent of them asserted that more and more management decisions are based on “hard analytic information”, as opposed to just having a hunch.
The responses showed a shift towards data-dredging and away from intuition in the boardroom. Over half (54 per cent) of respondents said that managers relying solely on intuition and experience are regarded as "suspect" by their colleagues.
And it's not just spreadsheets that these new, analytic managers are crunching. 58 per cent fed "unstructured data" into their decision-making process, including text, voice messages, images and video content. For 40 per cent of them that also comprises social media data, which "has become increasingly important for decision-making" according to Capgemini's statement. Sadly, what constitutes social media data was not defined.
The volume of the data involved wasn't seen as a major obstacle by the execs but keeping up with the data in real-time was an issue. Data inaccuracy caused problems for 67 per cent of them on a daily basis.
Also problematic were data silos - having information locked away in inaccessible databases – and a shortage of data analysis talent, particularly notable in the consumer goods and retail sector.
All this looking at Facebook and picking over stats seems to be doing business good, according to the biz respondents: Big Data has improved businesses' performance on average by 26 per cent and that the impact will grow to 41 per cent over the next 3 years.
The 607 respondents came from 20 industries including financial services, manufacturing and consumer retail and from countries across the world. ®
Forward the 'reputation managers'
Who can be found on many (if not most) tech discussion sites and social media these days. They will (for a fee, of course) attempt to make it appear that your product (yes, YOUR product) is the talk and toast of the town, so that these execs notice you and go with your solution!
No, we can't have nice things, ever, because someone will always step in a screw it up for a quick buck.
I suspect what is actually happening in most cases...
Is that managers select data that bolsters the decision they want to make so that they can say it is data-driven. Wouldn't **you** do that?
I found the whole report a bit schizophrenic. On the front page from Capgemini link the speedometers suggest improvements in performance on account of using data analysis -
a. is actually 6% (assume this for 3 years ?)
b. perceived to be 26% (last 3 years)
c. expected to be 41% (next 3 years)
This tells me that a lot of top execs are perhaps deluding themselves about what is in fact happening with the performance of their organisation. Also if they are spending more than say 5% of their revenue on data analysis they may well be wasting money.
The other thing I noticed was the organisational silos were a big problem, and yet they seemed to want to analyse external data (which presumably is freely available, after all any of the executives could look at the companies face book page and count the 'likes' etc). How is this the case?
The rest seemed to be statements of universal truths, that is:
> 75% of respondents believe their organizations to be data-driven
OK, so I am top dog of an organisation selling stuff and I am going to completely ignore any customer surveys, and so on? Don't think so? It is difficult to understand why the other 25% are even in a job.
> 9 out of 10 say decisions made in the past 3 years would have been better if they’d had all the relevant information
and 1 out of 10 really does need firing surely?
> 42% say that unstructured content is too difficult to interpret
Yea but you knows if you want to earn gazzillions of pounds/dollars more than us peons surely you should give it a go?
> 85% say the issue is not about volume but the ability to analyze and act on the data in real time
Isn't this pretty standard management 101? Apart from having a top notch golf handicap, this is management?
Oh well maybe I just haven't read this correctly.
"...managers relying solely on intuition and experience are regarded as "suspect"..."
So the de-skilling of business is set to continue, then.
Any manager relying on 'big data' to make their decisions is inevitably going to be relying on the efforts of someone skilled enough to winnow the useful essentials out of the mountain of crap. And such a manager is hostage to the agendas of such people - rather like UK Ministers.
Re: "... data-dredging ..."
If it is administered by the average consultant working for example for whoever did that survey and or Joe Average MBA Business Analyst hired by the same data hogging execs - definitely yes. It will turn out mud and mud alone.
The success stories in big data are all from companies which have used the appropriate math (usually Bayes and optimal control theory) combined with the appropriate domain knowledge. People who fit that description cost an amount of money which does not fit the normal salary ladder. Some of best ones also have working habits and social skills which will make your average "antisocial pizza face nerd coder" stereotype look like a business exec in an Armani suit.
It does not matter how much data you hoard. What matters is how you use it. For that - "Big 4 Consultancy is not the answer, Big 4 consultancy is the question and the answer is No". The right answer for that is to go to a uni or a boutique consultancy that relies heavily on uni staff (especially from Eastern Europe, Russia and Israel).