O'Reilly logo

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

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

Chapter 5

Understanding Decision Theory

One interesting aspect of big data is how it is challenging the conventional thinking regarding how the non-analytical business user should be using analytics. An article by Chris Anderson titled “The End of Theory: The Data Deluge Makes the Scientific Method Obsolete” really got me thinking about not only the power of big data and advanced analytics, but more importantly what the combination of big data and advanced analytics might mean to the business user experience. The premise of the article was that the massive amounts of data were yielding insights about businesses without requiring the heavy statistical modeling typically needed when using sampled data sets. This is the quote that really intrigued me:

Google conquered the advertising world with nothing more than applied mathematics. It didn't pretend to know anything about the culture and conventions of advertising — it just assumed that better data, with better analytical tools, would win the day. And Google was right.1

Google became the dominant player in an industry (advertising) without really knowing anything about that industry. Google achieved this role not by understanding and perfecting advertising techniques, but by applying analytics to massive, detailed data sources to identify what works without having to worry about why it worked.

Business Intelligence Challenge

That's the key “aha” moment that big data practitioners need to understand—that you can leverage these vast, ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required