An excellent blog post in HBR by Bill Franks of Teradata discusses how operational analytics are already changing the way business works. Most of stock trading has happened through algorithms for a long time already. Operational, automated algorithms are making their way into more and more business decisions, as banks use it to detect fraud, media uses it to customize content, and airlines use it to re-route customers. All fully automatically, without human internvetions, thanks to advances in analytics and algorithms.

Many executives may feel uncomfortable about letting algorithms make decisions - they are, after all, often highly paid to make the decisions themselves. Humans will still be needed to make decisions, and there is a place for human intuition. Algorithms can also go badly wrong, especially if they are hastily built and not tested properly and with extensive enough data.  But human intuition can benefit from good analytics and algorithms, using it either as basis or as a sounding board for decision-making. We should not be wary of algorithms, but instead put them to good use.

Another good post from Charles Orton-Jones mentions, that According to Hitachi Data Systems, 75% of UK companies lack the understanding, expertise and logistics to do data mining. The numbers are probably very similar in most countries. The three main challenges of mining Big Data: storage, process, and - of course - analysis. Finding ways in which especially SMEs can tackle these challenges are paramount in moving them to the next level of efficiency and less waste in resources, energy and time.

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