The recent Harvard Business Review article “The Value of Big Data Isn't the Data” generated interesting points and counterpoints in comments left between industry practitioners. One commentator cited Peter Drucker’s pronouncement that “culture eats strategy for lunch”; which I thought was an important point to make. As the article’s author, Kristian J. Hammond, points out it's not the data, it's the evidence, the insights from the data, that's important. Further it's the actions, the better decisions, that are made based on the insights that are the real drivers of business value.
At our company, Oversight Systems, we've found that driving accountability around considering the insights creates the cultural effect cited by Drucker.
We're seeing an evolution in the application of analysis. Traditionally analysis was used in strategic decisions. Now with the detailed data available and sophisticated analytic platforms (Gartner has coined the term "Operational Intelligence Platforms") we can serve actionable insights to the frontlines of business. For every strategic decision most companies make thousands of tactical decisions. As pointed out in the article it's critical that we make the insights easily digestible, especially at the frontlines of business.
If we provide readily absorbed insights and accountability for considering the insights then we will drive significant ROI. There's real value in enabling frontline employees to make one smarter decision a day.