“Can Big Data help us with X?”  can sound like a legitimate question until you realize that:

  1. Big Data is data
  2. decisions should be based on facts.

So, unless we want to confess our preference for cloud shapes, lamb guts, sticks, I Ching, tarots, coin-tossing, intuition or other traditional and equally unspeakable aids to decision-making yes, Big Data can help.

This is not a problem. Why many people keep thinking this is a genuine question, is.

Think for a moment and the sad truth will smash your head like, you know, a slice of lemon wrapped around a large gold brick.

Go to your favourite book store, and scour the “Business Leadership” section. See if you can find a mention, any mention, of the following:

  • analytical mind-set
  • advanced logical skills
  • advanced numerical skills
  • statistical modelling
  • knowledge of cognitive biases.

You can’t, eh?

Businesses keep asking whether Big Data can help with this or that not because Big Data is something intrinsically new, but because businesses are not used to base their decisions upon facts, regardless of what they tell themselves (and us).

As always, technology is not a problem. The culture and the careers that that technology will disrupt, are.

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