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Making Research Actionable: 3 Ways to Put Big Data to Work

Leah Hacker
Senior Strategist - Accomplice

The integration of big data and the application of its analysis has immeasurable value in business. Just kidding, when you properly integrate big data into your business, everything is measurable.  See what I did there, a big data joke — you’re welcome. 

Here’s a few pointers to put big data to work: 

Employ the right data. It is our conviction that data is best done across departments of an organization, producing a comprehensive picture of the state of the business. Look at everything you can. Particularly, how data from customers, operations, transactions and market perceptions are affecting your brand and ultimately, your bottom line. For more, see our post on Big Data that actually gives you the big picture here.

Employ the right people. As researchers by trade, we are specifically trained to view data in the existence of its “universe” or population. There is not an inclination to slice and dice data to make it look as we wish. Although we like to be right, this practice confounds the outcomes and thus, the application. But, here’s the catch—we know that the “universe” of data can rarely be found in one perspective. In fact, a good researcher would argue that taking data only from one perspective can provide limited variability and therefore, questionable generalizability. Even worse, looking to a source that is irrelevant to the sample “universe” is  bad data behavior.

Individuals in this role are: 1-part statistician, 1-part scientist, and 1-part journalist. The ability to extract a meaningful, comprehensive storyline from unstructured and partitioned data requires both mad skills and a whole lot of ingenuity.

Employ the right technology. Technology is overwhelming in today’s business world. It seems just when you get the hang of one system, the system is obsolete. Keeping up can seem daunting at best.

This is where you bring IT into the process of insights. Chances are, someone in your IT department is aware of the new technology that you have yet to hear about and they probably know how to use it. And even more likely, it will solve that next problem you have yet to realize.

The key to successfully implementing anything into a complex organization is to make it devastatingly simple and accessible. Insights are no different. Historically, data collection is by department, by objective. However, given the ability to collect data on all fronts in multiple different perspectives, there is a need to be able to understand that data as a whole—not separated by departments as it once was.

The end result is a storyline of your enterprise-wide data you can use.

Sure, finding someone to look at your data across segmented departments from a journalistic perspective with a mind of scientist, the creativity of an artist and the technical prowess of an entire IT team seems difficult. So we’ll just take care of that for you.


Accomplice specializes in creating consumer experiences for today’s brands – from digital to physical spaces.  Visit our website to learn more about the Accomplice team.

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