There are five broad ways in which using big data can create value. First, big data can unlock significant value by making information transparent and usable at much higher frequency. Second, as organizations create and store more transactional data in digital form, they can collect more accurate and detailed performance information on everything from product inventories to sick days, and therefore expose variability and boost performance. Leading companies are using data collection and analysis to conduct controlled experiments to make better management decisions; others are using data for basic low-frequency forecasting to high-frequency nowcasting to adjust their business levers just in time. Third, big data allows ever-narrower segmentation of customers and therefore much more precisely tailored products or services. Fourth, sophisticated analytics can substantially improve decision-making. Finally, big data can be used to improve the development of the next generation of products and services. For instance, manufacturers are using data obtained from sensors embedded in products to create innovative after-sales service offerings such as proactive maintenance (preventive measures that take place before a failure occurs or is even noticed).
There is an eBook that goes with this which I've added to my long reading pile, but even the rest of this article is interesting. I was particularly taken with the last sentence of this point, "manufacturers are using data obtained from sensors embedded in products to create innovative after-sales service offerings such as proactive maintenance". In a (many times previous) job I worked on a project for the engineering and bio-engineering teams of a pharmaceutical company, ensuring that all the equipment was fit for purpose and being routinely maintained (ensuring that a pipette that said it was 10ml was actually 10ml etc), if the equipment could have posted it's data somewhere, we could have integrated early alerting warnings into the system to try and avoid failures, or potentially even worse, mis-measurements.