The promises and limits of Big Data

Although many people claim that we entered the era of big data, research companies say that most of the information they collect is never used. It is not cleaned, not scanned, not used in databases.

However, when data analytics is used successfully, businesses benefit from it. Financial services companies use digital information about their customers to offer a brand new range of personalized products in the fintech category. Cities use Google Street View data to control their economic development. And companies are finding that in some cases machines can make better hiring decisions than humans.

In these articles from our current archive, Harvard Business School researchers highlight the promise of Big Data and the limitations of using firehose data.

The civic benefits of Google Street View and Yelp

According to Michael Luca and his research colleagues, cities are increasingly rich in citizen-generated data that can be used to improve programs and services.

Why do millennials turn to fintech for their personal investments?

The new high-tech financial companies are helping millennia to invest, but with a twist. They exchange investment advisers against financial robots and pass on savings to their customers. Luis Viceira explains the rise of “fintech” in a new case study.

Man against machine: Who is better hired?

Danielle Li and colleagues find that computers make better hiring decisions than managers when they work in simpler jobs.

How does the age of big data affect management?

How can we prevent useful knowledge being lost in a seemingly endless data stream? The readers of Jim Heskett give elaborate suggestions.

Consumer-oriented health care depends on accessible medical records

Medical records are a problem: they are scattered everywhere. John Quelch discusses approaches to integrating patient data so that health professionals and patients can make better decisions.

Related research documents
How the water industry has learned to take over data

Most current discussions about “big data” seem to assume disintermediation or the replacement of physical assets with digital technologies. Online tools can improve the use of physical resources in many traditional offline businesses, according to researchers Frank V. Cespedes and Amir Peleg. For example, this Harvard Business Review article introduces the water industry, as well as the organizational changes and levers for adding value to emerging data analysis technologies.

Big Data: Big Deal or Big Hype?

Google’s announcement in 2008 to track the prevalence of influenza by analyzing people’s research outcomes heralded a new era in which data can speak independently of each other without any theoretical or technical knowledge of the topic. In a short time, however, the pendulum has shaken off big data, which has become a real hype. As usual, the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes. This article by Professor Sunil Gupta in the European Business Review highlights the potential impact of big data on business practices in three broad areas: applications, methods and infrastructure.

Share :