Why Big Data Mentality Fails
Fri, September 30, 2022

Why Big Data Mentality Fails

Companies need to be insight-driven / Photo Credit: bleakstar (via Shutterstock)


People are looking for different data narratives and one of the sharpest voices in this area is Tricia Wang, co-founder of Sudden Compass, an enterprise advisory team that aims to turn data questions into “insight-driven” growth, wrote Jon Reed of Diginomica, a business insights news platform. Wang argued in Diginomica’s recent podcast that companies think they are going to make better decisions if they extract more data. “In fact, it can lead you to make more risky decisions and dangerous decisions. The worst part is it can lead you farther away from your customer,” she asserted. 

On the podcast, she said it’s a total conundrum, but she has seen it time and time again in firms. “Very few leaders want to talk about this big white elephant in the room because what it is,” she added. She is tackling the vendor industry that promises to help clients find the needle in the haystack about their customers. If they purchase that dashboard, they will be able to acquire all of their customer data, CDP, DMP into a big lake. They expect that they’re going to make all the decisions they want to drive growth, but they are far from reality, Wang explained. 

But Wang is not anti-big data. She is highlighting how big data is idealized by firms, including the loss of course-correcting-power if qualitative data or “thick data.” Therefore, it’s important to be insight-driven as “most things fall apart in decision making,” she said. We may have the technology to collect, store, analyze quantitative data. However, “we're not able to learn from our quantitative data because we're missing an entirely other set of data called thick data, also known as qualitative data,” Wang asserted. 

For her, it’s ludicrous when companies try to grow their business by investing in quantitative data. Being data-driven is the main issue. We need to be insight-driven to understand the insight the data is trying to tell us. “And then that's what going to help a decision-maker act  - or make a decision,” Wang concluded.