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Analytics and Dynamic Customer Strategy: Big Profits from Big Data by John F. Tanner Jr.

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Chapter 1Big Strategy for Big Data

My grandfather was a partner in a small furniture company in Palatka, Florida. The company manufactured Florida-style patio furniture for a limited market. His first major contribution (other than capital) was to shift the company from patio furniture to bedroom furniture because every house has bedrooms and not all have patios. He and his partners grew the company to three plants and retail customers across the lower 48 states.

I was on the board of directors when the Chinese began manufacturing bedroom furniture. As you can imagine, there was a lot of discussion about the threat of Chinese manufacturing. We thought it was all hype. No way could they send furniture to the United States and compete! By the time we recognized the threat, our sales and profits were suffering. Despite an effort to pivot (a bit too late), we could not recover, and, without overstating it, all we were left with were empty factories and a few memories.

I think Big Data is like that. You hear a lot of hype! And tough decisions to make while filtering your own industry noise and market distractions. Do you pivot now or hope your organization can manage a defensive ramp-up when the deluge hits?

I suggest pivot!

Beyond the Hype

About the time we were going through the painful process of closing down the business, I came across this quote: “The only sustainable competitive advantage is to learn faster than your competition, and to be able to act on that learning.” I ...

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