Senior managers key to optimizing big data

While big data scientists are often perceived as the key to unlocking the potential value of big data, research conducted by the University of Kent indicates a different view. Dr. Maggie Zeng from Kent Business School, in collaboration with Professor Keith Glaister from the Warwick Business School, investigated the use of big data within five Chinese internet-platform companies that have put big data at the heart of their operations. They interviewed 42 individuals in senior management positions, including CEOs, as well as conducting 34 interviews with partner firms and third-party developers, who work with these companies to understand how they use big data internally and externally. The researchers analyzed meeting minutes and business-strategy documents to inform their work. Their findings suggest that firms that hire many data scientists do not always generate better value-creation opportunities. Rather, it was the process of data management (where managers are able to democratize, contextualize, experiment and execute around the use of big data) that helped firms derive the most benefits. The research found this is based on four key areas that senior managers can facilitate: *Data democratization: Allowing more employees to access and interpret data gives firms a better chance deriving insights. It enables better…

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