Is business decision-making based on data and analytics really going out of fashion?
That seems to be a claim made by certain experts, according to Thomas Davenport’s blog post “Analytics and Big Data: The New Kale?”
The comparison of Big Data and analytics to leafy green kale originates from the fact that some people contend, making decisions based on data/analytics isn’t as trendy as it once used to be—much like the “kale-in-everything fad” has gone out of fashion.
Although Davenport understands the viewpoint around the Big Data and analytics hype, he, however, just cannot support that line of thinking.
But to suggest that we reduce the role of data and analytics in business decision-making is akin to “arguing for the return of the Dark Ages,” he notes.
The question Davenport rightly asks is: “What is the alternative to data and analytics?” Certainly not a few anecdotes or simple human intuition.
One of the reasons Davenport says we should value data and analytics highly is because human brains “commonly make a raft of systematic errors in judgment.”
Davenport also understands that organizations often employ bad metrics, or they may not be putting good data to better use, or that sometimes, even the best analytics can lead to poor decisions.
“But I have always felt, and still feel, that if you had to choose a single resource for making better decisions, it would be data and analysis,” he says.
Maybe the answer is to make analytics easier for non-analytics experts, i.e., business analysts, to use. For example, smart analytics tools can transform business users into data champions, enabling them to find new business insights easier and faster so they can make better business decisions.
The era of the generic hype for Big Data—the kale days—is probably over, Davenport notes.
“What’s needed is more “specific hype” that shows how Big Data and analytics help improve specific functions or solve specific business problems,” he says.
Smart analytics seems to fit the bill for the perfect “specific hype.”