CHAPTER 4

BIG DATA: MAKING SENSE OF IT ALL

Retailers have been collecting digital exhaust for years—the voluminous data tracks consumers leave behind as they navigate the connected world. Now called “big data,” these vapor trails are extremely valuable if captured and manipulated adeptly, as they fit neatly between sensor proliferation, massive computer processing power, and next-generation analytics software.

In this chapter I will track the rise of big data. I will show how it has informed decision making at retailers, hospitals, and investment managers. And I will tell you how a couple of little known businesses are building foundational franchises in this fast growing and very important niche.

Harvesting Big Data

Andrew Pole is not a household ...

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