Big data will not describe how people are feeling

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So called ‘Big Data’ is written about widely on weekly basis and continues to be a discussion topic for many leaders and mangers. Speaking at the recent World Business Forum former Amazon Chief Scientist, Andreas Weigend emphasised the amount of data being gathered is increasing exponentially and organisations can more accurately gather the right types and amounts of data.

He described the twentieth century as the century of physical interaction and the twenty-first century will be the century of human interaction.   Go back a couple of decades and the focus was on connecting pages, today it is about connecting data.

With data being everywhere the answers are there. For leaders and managers in organisations he provided some interesting insights to ponder:

  • We need to develop much more creativity and have greater curiosity about how we can use and apply the data gathered. Data is just that, data. Our challenge as leaders is how to use the data to build sustainable business performance;
  • The starting point is not with the data, the starting point is to learn to ask the right questions. We may even need to go further by figuring out what we are trying to ask;
  • The value of any data gathered is proportional to its contribution and its impact on the decisions that leaders have to make about satisfying customer’s needs;
  • In considering data gathering it must always come from the customer’s perspective;
  • Data utilisation should not just focus on decisions and action, we need to ensure utilisation provides opportunities to obtain feedback;
  • Data cannot describe how people are feeling.

Rather than become data miners Andreas Weigend believes more companies need to follow in the footsteps of Amazon, Google and Facebook and become data refiners constantly updating data sets to gain new insights.

He did sound a warning to leaders and managers at every level in organisations that as the amount of data collection points continues to grow so will the levels of inaccurate and incorrect data grow making it more challenging for organisations to determine if data accuracy is sufficient on which to base key decisions. It is important for leaders to ensure there are mechanisms in place to figure out where the truth lies in the data gathered.

While the 6Ps of marketing; Product, Place, Promotion, Price and People retain value in today’s marketing environment a more focus is required on the 5Cs; Content, Context, Connection, Community and Conversation.  The biggest shift in marketing  in this digital age is that organisations in marketing and promoting their products and services have moved from addressing an audience through use of mass media to connecting with individuals to build and foster long term relationships through individual media such as mobile phones.

E-commerce is being superseded by “We commerce”.


Vivente Australia enables leaders and managers develop the bond between people and performance, creating a powerful advantage: the synergy between people, leadership, management, and culture, produces performance that allows your business to achieve its best.

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