This year might be the year when big data takes over everything and intuition becomes obsolete. Whereas gut instinct may have been a good barometer for some people in the past, the battle cry of the newly minted MBAs is, “Show me the analytics!”
Companies like Amazon and Google are crunching numbers, analyzing behavior, and delivering coupons and product and information suggestions to a mobile device near (or on) you.
While big data offers big opportunities to customize and course-correct almost instantly, keep in mind there’s a big difference between information and knowledge. Between having data and understanding data.
Like a well-designed survey, knowing the types of information you want to extract and how you’ll use them is a key to designing useful research. Conversely, a former client of mine designed an extensive survey of its customers without really knowing how it wanted to use the information—and what it got back was a tsunami of data and cross-tabulations that didn’t provide any actionable knowledge.