Articles - Digital Transformation
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While most leaders agree on the importance of the big data phenomenon, in practical terms few know how to take advantage of it. More than just being a technological trend, data analysis tools can solve problems and generate real opportunities - provided that a coherent big data strategy is developed beforehand.
What are the right questions to ask before embarking on the big data adventure?
Determine the scope to ensure that the data has meaning.
To prime the big data pump, you can choose between push and pull approaches. The former starts with a problem and consists of acquiring the data to solve it. The challenge is to focus on a clear goal (cost reduction, improvements to the supply chain, developing new services, and so on) before deciding what data to collect and drawing up an action plan.
The second approach, by contrast, involves using data that is already available and devising innovative ways to harness it. Executives at UPS realized that they could optimize the routes taken by the company’s delivery trucks by exploiting their GPS data. Drivers in the US subsequently reduced their journeys by 136 million kilometers in 2011, saving more than 30 million liters of gasoline in the process.
Sources: "Big data" lecture by François Cazals (HEC Paris Executive Education, September 28, 2015) and Big Data at Work: Dispelling the Myths, Uncovering the Opportunities by Thomas H. Davenport (Harvard Business Review Press, February 2014)