Getting Back to Basics
Many executives are interested in using big data but have relatively little direct experience with the latest analytics tools and techniques. Right at the start, they typically ask me what it will cost. The response I am tempted to give is: “What’s the cost of making the wrong decision? What was the cost to Kodak of not reacting quickly enough to the advent of digital photography?” My less glib answer is that analytics can require a major investment, beginning with just assembling and harmonizing the data. On top of that, companies need specialists who are trained to do the more advanced work to find hidden patterns, interpret them, and turn them into insights the company can put to use.
But as these three fundamental lessons show, it can be a manageable process with the potential for significant rewards. In fact, it’s been my experience that once companies start investing in analytics, they almost never stop. The things they learn drive improvements in the business that more than pay for the effort. Analytics becomes a self-funding way for companies to improve their position in the market.
Reprint No. 00150
- David Meer is a partner with Booz & Company’s consumer and retail practice, and is based in New York.