The one thing business students should know about Big Data

Whether you are studying a bachelors or associates degree in business, you’ve probably heard the buzz around Big Data. As near as Charlotte, NC, local leaders in business and government are working to make the city a national hub for Big Data companies. While the majority of discussion is centered on how Big Data informs various industries, or the ways in which it can help one’s own business, the one thing that reoccurs repeatedly is the importance of human intuition.

In a recent Q&A with Marketing News, Christian Madsjerg, co-founder of ReD Associates, an innovation and strategy consultancy, said: “Marketing and market research have become too technocratic…the fields are so intent on employing engineers and computer scientists to mine today’s data troves that they’re neglecting to apply a holistic, human-sciences-oriented approach to compiling the most telling data in the first place.”

Take for example Lego’s data-informed decision to adapt to tech-driven marketplace by offering less construction-focused products. However, one-on-one interviews and ethnographic research revealed that kids still crave traditional Lego-like toys that leave the room to roam.  

The value of Big Data is seldom ever disputed and similarly experts agree on the vital importance of intelligent analytics for making sense of it. However, the human element often attributed to intuition or application of human sciences such as anthropology and sociology is not to be neglected when it comes to Big Data interpretation.

Dorie Clark, a Forbes Magazine contributor would agree. In her post Four things you need to know in the big data era, she explains intuition isn’t dead. Quoting Pill Simon, author of Too Big to Ignore: The Business Case for Big Data, she wrote, “Contrary to what some people believe … intuition is as important as ever. When looking at massive, unprecedented datasets, you need some place to start… We are entering an era in which more and more things can be tested. Big Data has not, at least not yet, replaced intuition; the latter merely complements the former. The relationship between the two is a continuum, not a binary.”

For more insights on Big Data, check out Harvard Business Review Insight Center, Big Data: Beyond the Hype.