Big data is changing everything we know about business

Posted by Justin Hesser on October 14, 2013

While it may be lost in the hoopla that is big data, there is one very important element to the strategy that cannot be ignored: big data is going to change the way you do business. 

What do we mean by this? On the surface, it probably sounds like we're overstating the obvious. Of course big data is going to change the way business is done. It's going to allow decision makers to view and analyze information that was previously unavailable, providing companies with the ability to do things never thought possible. But there's far more to it than that. In short, big data is going to change everything about standard business operations.

That's the sentiment of a recent Forbes article titled "Why Big Data Matters." The article talks about the Bayesian inference, the act of making educated guesses and updating them after collecting new data that theoretically enhances the accuracy of these guesses. This was popular during World War II as it allowed soldiers to project the location of German subs, but it never caught on in the business world because there was simply not enough information for it to be practical. 

Instead, businesses mostly adopted the approach created by Ronald Fisher, which involves controlling every aspect of the prediction process. Essentially, it's a less effective method, but it was the best individuals could do with the limited information they have. However, given the growth of data volumes, that is changing dramatically. Because users have access to so much information, they can now trust that new data will consistently flow into their systems, allowing them to constantly update their projections. 

Greg Satell, the article's author, explained this in further detail.

"What you really need to know about big data is this:  [big data] represents a fundamental shift in how we do things," he wrote. "In effect, big data opens the door to a Bayesian approach to strategy where we no longer try to be 'right' based on controlled research and small samples, but rather become less wrong over time as real world information floods in."

The big data revolution is underway, but the only way your company can take advantage of it is if you have the right tools. A custom database software system made by FileMaker developers will allow you to embrace big data and change the way you do business for the better.