Data is coming into companies at remarkable speed and volume. From small, manageable data sets to big data that is recorded every time a consumer buys a product or likes a social media post, this information offers a range of opportunities to managers.

Data allows you to make better predictions about the future—whether a new retail location is likely to succeed, for example, or what a reasonable budget for the next fiscal year might look like. It helps you identify the causes of certain events—a failed advertising campaign, a bad quarter, or even poor employee performance—so you can adjust course if necessary. It allows you to isolate variables so that you can identify your customers’ wants or needs or assess the chances an initiative ...

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