As companies have gained more and more access to information about consumers, competitors, partners and suppliers, their use of data analytics to inform their decisions has skyrocketed. Reliance on managers' gut instincts is increasingly a thing of the past. Now, decisions are made by crunching the numbers from such sources as social networks, internet click-through patterns, search engines and commercial databases, which, especially when combined, can give firms valuable data about the opinions and behaviors of consumers and other companies.
But despite the hype surrounding the era of big data, its usefulness might not apply equally to all types of firms.
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