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back to article Top bosses admit: Tweets, Facebook Likes influence decisions

Nine out of 10 execs think Big Data - the hoarding of information from server logs to social networking posts - is the fourth most important input to a business. The execs questioned in a survey published yesterday described data sets as the fourth factor of production after land, labour and capital. The research by the …

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Stop

Forward the 'reputation managers'

Who can be found on many (if not most) tech discussion sites and social media these days. They will (for a fee, of course) attempt to make it appear that your product (yes, YOUR product) is the talk and toast of the town, so that these execs notice you and go with your solution!

No, we can't have nice things, ever, because someone will always step in a screw it up for a quick buck.

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"... data-dredging ..."

...gives you lots of mud.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "... data-dredging ..."

If it is administered by the average consultant working for example for whoever did that survey and or Joe Average MBA Business Analyst hired by the same data hogging execs - definitely yes. It will turn out mud and mud alone.

The success stories in big data are all from companies which have used the appropriate math (usually Bayes and optimal control theory) combined with the appropriate domain knowledge. People who fit that description cost an amount of money which does not fit the normal salary ladder. Some of best ones also have working habits and social skills which will make your average "antisocial pizza face nerd coder" stereotype look like a business exec in an Armani suit.

It does not matter how much data you hoard. What matters is how you use it. For that - "Big 4 Consultancy is not the answer, Big 4 consultancy is the question and the answer is No". The right answer for that is to go to a uni or a boutique consultancy that relies heavily on uni staff (especially from Eastern Europe, Russia and Israel).

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So, not really important at all?

> described data sets as the fourth factor of production

From the website ...

Investopedia explains 'Factors Of Production'

In essence, land, labor, capital and entrepreneurship encompass all of the inputs needed to produce a good or service

So, in fact they're saying that big data is the least important factor of production.

and later ...

more and more management decisions are based on “hard analytic information”, as opposed to just having a hunch

I wonder if the decision (on how to make decisions) was taken in the light of "hard analytic information”, or if it was just a hunch?

The interesting thing is, that if all these business successes are the result of a company having a good process, rather than good leadership it rather shoots in the foot the principle that directors should be highly paid because their leadership is what drives success. It sounds like the success is due to the analysts who trawl through these datasets and come up with insightful conclusions - not the people at the top.

Maybe if good data really is the key to success, these CEOs should be keeping schtum about it and carry on claiming that the success was really down to their skill, vision and talent. Otherwise someone might just ask why they pay themselves so much.

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Anonymous Coward

@Pete 2 Re: So, not really important at all?

"Otherwise someone might just ask why they pay themselves so much."

Many people already have been, and continue to ask that question. Since those question-askers are not on the relevant boards of directors, it does not affect executive compensation.

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Anonymous Coward

Many companies ignore emails sent to them directly.

However, tweet for the world to see and they are more likely to respond.

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"...managers relying solely on intuition and experience are regarded as "suspect"..."

So the de-skilling of business is set to continue, then.

Any manager relying on 'big data' to make their decisions is inevitably going to be relying on the efforts of someone skilled enough to winnow the useful essentials out of the mountain of crap. And such a manager is hostage to the agendas of such people - rather like UK Ministers.

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LDS
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I call it "dumbsizing"

That's why we see more and more "photocopied" products filled with silly features. They can't understand often the "killer" product is that most people can't think of (or someone would have probably already rolled it out...). Of course they protect their too paid jobs behind the numbers, thinking is risky, if you fail and relied only on your intuition and experience they'll fire you, if you file because you just used a bunch of silly data sold you for many $$$$ by some "consulting" company you're right and they'll promote you.

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Schizophrenic ?

I found the whole report a bit schizophrenic. On the front page from Capgemini link the speedometers suggest improvements in performance on account of using data analysis -

a. is actually 6% (assume this for 3 years ?)

b. perceived to be 26% (last 3 years)

c. expected to be 41% (next 3 years)

This tells me that a lot of top execs are perhaps deluding themselves about what is in fact happening with the performance of their organisation. Also if they are spending more than say 5% of their revenue on data analysis they may well be wasting money.

The other thing I noticed was the organisational silos were a big problem, and yet they seemed to want to analyse external data (which presumably is freely available, after all any of the executives could look at the companies face book page and count the 'likes' etc). How is this the case?

The rest seemed to be statements of universal truths, that is:

> 75% of respondents believe their organizations to be data-driven

OK, so I am top dog of an organisation selling stuff and I am going to completely ignore any customer surveys, and so on? Don't think so? It is difficult to understand why the other 25% are even in a job.

> 9 out of 10 say decisions made in the past 3 years would have been better if they’d had all the relevant information

and 1 out of 10 really does need firing surely?

> 42% say that unstructured content is too difficult to interpret

Yea but you knows if you want to earn gazzillions of pounds/dollars more than us peons surely you should give it a go?

> 85% say the issue is not about volume but the ability to analyze and act on the data in real time

Isn't this pretty standard management 101? Apart from having a top notch golf handicap, this is management?

Oh well maybe I just haven't read this correctly.

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I suspect what is actually happening in most cases...

Is that managers select data that bolsters the decision they want to make so that they can say it is data-driven. Wouldn't **you** do that?

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...intuition in the boardroom...

Best joke I've heard all day.

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Stop

The elephant in the room

Is Google, a poster boy for big data that still hasn't been able to leverage it successfully outside of search and advertising, and I suspect the wheels will come off online advertising if Facebook starts supplying advertisers with the detail that google has upto this point been able to bury as the defacto route to market.

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FAIL

Anybody who takes a bit of survey data

And uses it to create the monstrosity of an infographic that's linked at the top of the article, can't be trusted with Big Data. Or Medium Sized Data. Or Any Data At All.

If you want useful analytics, or advice on how to get useful analytics, steer well clear of anybody who says "big data". Those are marketing people. Go and find somebody who's been doing big data for ages and just calls it "analysis".

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Letting social media lead your company is like having a groundhog predict the length of winter by the length of its shadow.

60% of the time they are wrong.

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Coat

"60% of the time they are wrong."

Seems good odds to me...

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Stop

Let's get the lowest common denominator

There are three points here......

1. Have they never heard of trolls?

2. So if HTC want Samsung to go down the pan they employ an small army of people to facebook, twitter all the rubbish they can about any upcoming or just released product and the Execs will then pull the product!

3. Or of course HTC could spot a dog and employ there army to say how fab it is.....

Oh the marvels of Social Networks...............

Managers.....manage.....do not let the 14 year old kids on the internet manage you!

Now I bet the Execs gave themselves a huge bonus on the back of this.

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