Are we Blinded by Big Data?


Are we Blinded by Big Data?

Important decisions should be based on knowledge and facts, and digital measurability seem to be the answer to our prayers.

Although Big Data don’t tell the whole story, it’s tempting to limit KPIs to the easily accessible quantitative and historic data.

The trouble is:

  • If we don’t integrate qualitative (small) data into our business analysis, we’ll never understand the motives behind our customers behaviour and choices. This may lead to the wrong conclusions. A trivial example of this is interpreting long visits on our site to be a sign of interest, when in fact, it may be because visitors can’t find what they are looking for.
  • We reproduce ourselves based on historic data; looking back instead of ahead. Of course, we should learn from experience; what worked and what didn’t. But the danger of cycling around in retrospective data and making small adjustments is that it prohibits us from thing out of the constrictive box that big data creates. It prevents innovation.

Qualitative data are necessary, if you want to steer according to accurate KPIs. But they are costly to collect and process, and  so far, I haven’t encountered systems to automate the process and eliminate the cumbersome and time consuming process of qualitative research. How to make small data more accessible and operational? Until we find out, it may be wise to have some faith in your gut feeling instead of relying solely on big data.

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