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Michael Chiu (McKinsey Global Institute) on “Big Data”

Sources of “big data”:

  • Transactional databases (e.g. financial, travel, energy, etc.)
  • Social media
  • Sales & logistics
  • Audio/Video
  • Internet of Things (M2M)
Opportunities presented by Big Data:
  • Radical transparency (data is widely available to divisions, customers and stakeholders alike)
  • Test decisions: experiment with alternative strategies
  • Create widespread customization: even personalization (A different product for each customer)
  • Use data to replace/augment decision making for many front-line tasks
  • Identify and create new business models
Challenges presented to Organizations:
  • Size the opportunities and threats
  • Identify data resources and gaps
  • Align the company around strategic choices over which “data trails” to follow
  • Understand the organizational implications
Issues involved with “big data”:
  • A shortage of talent: data scientists, statisticians, data mining (machine-learning) expertise are in short supply
  • Constraints on personal information: the challenge of balancing privacy with convenience for users who are both producers and consumers of big data
  • Challenges to cybersecurity: losing large volumes of highly confidential data to hackers, competitors, others


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