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Human influence important to big data outcomes

Rachel Wheeler Archive

Companies are excited about big data because it fundamentally changes the way decisions are made. Rather than relying on employees to use their experience and best judgment to make the best choices, they can rely on findings from big data analytics that are completely objective. However, they aren't actually as untouched by human influence as adopters might at first believe. 

Because people are involved with the process of entering data in the first place, there are opportunities to be introduced before any nuggets of insight are discovered. Data quality issues that are introduced early in the pipeline don't have to ruin outcomes. They can be weeded out at multiple touch? points throughout the data lifecycle. 

Once companies are certain they have only the best data quality, they can begin to discover valuable insights that might have been difficult to recognize without analytics programs. Human resources teams, for instance, have started to use big data to identify which applicants will be the most successful on the job, according to The Economist. Xerox discovered an unexpected correlation between customers service employees' tenure and the distance they travel to work. 

Despite the success that some companies are recognizing through their big data efforts, there is also a push to keep reliance on the technology in check, according to Harvard Business Review. Big data systems were created by people, so it's false to assume the results that come from them are completely void of bias, the source explains.