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Big data can change the way we all do work

Rachel Wheeler Archive

Business leaders are becoming more and more intrigued by the prospect of using big data to enhance their operations. The data movement is helping companies undertake large-scale projects, armed with more specific knowledge about the consumers they're trying to reach. Data-driven initiatives can improve short-term sales numbers and long-term customer loyalty campaigns.

Companies can also transform the way they do business internally. According to Bloomberg Businessweek, big data has the capability to change the way we work.

Laura Gurski, who leads A.T. Kearney's Consumer Product and Retail Industry Practice, believes that companies can do more every day to incorporate data into everyday processes. Rather than making decisions based on hunches, executives can act on real-time information to go about their business more intelligently. This change can't happen overnight, and it won't be an exact science. But with some effort and critical thinking, it can be done.

"Getting from the data to making day-to-day decisions involves a special combination of science and art," Gurski argued. "There's science involved in assembling and comprehending the data - companies may need new job titles, such as 'data scientist' - and there's also an art to making data relevant and meaningful."

The possibilities are endless when incorporating more data analytics. Accounting departments can improve the way they plan their companies' budgets. Legal teams can provide counseling to their companies' employees with more information at their disposal. Human resources executives can make better decisions about the way they nurture and develop talent. The list goes on.

In all of these endeavors, companies must ensure that they begin with a high standard for data quality. If executives have slipshod methods of gathering information on their employees and their operations, it could lead to them making errant decisions that harm the futures of their businesses.