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Big Data: Understanding How Data Powers Big Business by Bill Schmarzo

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Chapter 3

Business Impact of Big Data

Organizations are starting to realize that big data is more about business transformation than IT transformation. Big data is allowing companies to answer questions they could not previously answer, and make more timely decisions at a finer level of fidelity than before, yielding new insights that can deliver business differentiation and new operational efficiencies. Let's take a look at an example of how big data is transforming how we look at business.

For decades, leading organizations have been exploiting new data sources, plus new technologies, for business differentiation and competitive advantage. And for the most part, the questions that the business users are trying to ask, and answer, with these data sources and new technologies really haven't changed:

  • Who are my most valuable customers?
  • What are my most important products?
  • What are my most successful campaigns?
  • What are my best performing channels?
  • What are my most effective employees?

The more I thought about these “simple” questions, the more I realized just how “not simple” these questions really were. Because of the new insights available from new big data sources, companies are able to take these types of “simple” questions to the next level of sophistication and understanding.

Let's look at the most valuable customer question. When you ask who your most valuable customers are, do you mean largest by revenue (which is how many companies today still define their most valuable ...

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