The MIT Center for Digital Business A Partnership in Research
Big Data: The Management Revolution


Big Data: The Management Revolution

MAIN ARTICLE

Brynjolfsson, E. and McAfee, A. (2012) “Big Data: The Management Revolution,” Harvard Business Review 90(10), pp. 60-68.

Executive Summary:

Big data, the authors write, is far more powerful than the analytics of the past. Executives can measure and therefore manage more precisely than ever before. They can make better predictions and smarter decisions. They can target more-effective interventions in areas that so far have been dominated by gut and intuition rather than by data and rigor. The differences between big data and analytics are a matter of volume, velocity, and variety: More data now cross the internet every second than were stored in the entire internet 20 years ago. Nearly real-time information makes it possible for a company to be much more agile than its competitors. And that information can come from social networks, images, sensors, the web, or other unstructured sources.

The managerial challenges, however, are very real. Senior decision makers have to learn to ask the right questions and embrace evidence-based decision making. Organizations must hire scientists who can find patterns in very large data sets and translate them into useful business information. IT departments have to work hard to integrate all the relevant internal and external sources of data.

The authors offer two success stories to illustrate how companies are using big data: PASSUR Aerospace enables airlines to match their actual and estimated arrival times. Sears Holdings directly analyzes its incoming store data to make promotions much more precise and faster.
Read the full article here.

FURTHER READING
Barton, D. and Court, D. “Making Advanced Analytics Work for You,” Harvard Business Review 90(10), pp. 78-83.
Brynjolfsson, E., Hitt, L. and Kim, H. (2011). "Strength in Numbers: How Does Data-Driven Decisionmaking Affect Firm Performance?" Working Paper, MIT.
Brynjolfsson, E. and McAfee, A. (2012) “Big Data: The Management Revolution,” Harvard Business Review 90(10), pp. 60-68.
Brynjolfsson, E. and McAfee, A. (2012) “The Big Data Boom Is the Innovation Story of Our Time,” The Atlantic.
Davenport, T., Barth, P. and Bean, R. (2012) “How ‘Big Data’ is Different,” MIT Sloan Management Review 54(1), pp. 22-24.
Davenport, T. and Patil, D. (2012) “Data Scientist: The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century,” Harvard Business Review 90(10), pp. 70-76.

Rosenthal, Caitlin (2013) “Big Data in the Age of the Telegraph,” McKinsey Quarterly 2013(1), pp. 13-18.



 
MIT MIT Sloan
MIT Center for Digital Business > News