It is often said that in the digital age the continuous glut of data being produced is leading to "information overload". While that may be true in certain cases, for the most part, with a bit of nous, the volume of data can be a phenomenal asset.
In an article published in the peer-reviewed journal Big Data, academics found that when information is used effectively to "build predictive models" that inform the decision making process, there is "no such thing as too much data".
The collaborative study by Enric Junqué de Fortuny and David Martens from the University of Antwerp, Belgium, and Foster Provost from New York University, US, looked specifically at how much influence big data has on developing more enhanced predictive models.
"This implies that institutions with larger data assets—plus the skill to take advantage of them—potentially can obtain substantial competitive advantage over institutions without such access or skill," the report stated.
Technology has made this possible, the experts explained, as increases in computing power and memory, coupled with a much more authoritative understanding of algorithms, is allowing experts to "build models" that work very well.
So different is today's environment that "it is striking how quaint the massive datasets of yesteryear look today", the paper outlined. The implications of this are profound, especially for organisation's operating in a highly competitive and oversaturated industry.
"This implies that institutions with larger data assets—plus the ability to take advantage of them—potentially can obtain substantial competitive advantage over institutions without access to so much data, or without the ability to handle it," the authors stated.
Getting to such a position is not without its challenges and requires from organisations a high level of commitment and investment. While the use of data in the decision making process is still in its infancy and there is a lot to be learnt, any organisation making an effort to align it to their objectives is going to benefit.