Harnessing the Growth Potential of Big Data: Why the CEO Must Take the Lead


While Big Data is the latest buzzword in the tech industry, the signals are that it has the potential to be a game-changing competitive weapon. The timing of this sea-change is good because organisations of all sizes in the UK today need to find new sources of growth.

EMC’s James Petter recently worked with Professor Joe Peppard from the Cranfield School of Management to develop a report entitled “Harnessing the Growth Potential of Big Data: Why the CEO must take the lead.” In it, they outline five different strategies for CEOs to embrace to drive growth:

  • Do what we always do, but better. Focused on core operational processes, insights derived from big data might identify and resolve supply chain bottlenecks; refine advertising strategy; challenge fixed assumptions about profitable customers; or something similarly fundamental to the way your business runs today.
  • Do something different by harnessing existing or new data. Better insights from big data could completely change a business model – from selling a product to delivering a service..
  • Do something new. Data already owned or accessible to a business might open up new business opportunities almost by ‘accident’, for example allowing businesses that have a billing relationship with the customer to move into the payments industry.
  • Co-create value with customers. ‘Open innovation’ can use crowdsourced data to drive product and service development.
  • Monetise data. The data you own or create as part of your day-to-day operations could be valuable if delivered in different ways to different organisations; whether that’s a stock exchange selling trading data or a search-engine selling search trends data to retailers or even central banks.

In reality, several of these could come into play simultaneously; look at the example of Telefonica/O2 which this year announced it would be pinning its prospects for growth on better use of data, including monetising data (reselling location data to retailers), and has also looked to ‘do something new’ with its O2 Money proposition.

At EMC, we believe every CEO needs to challenge their management team, examine their information strategy and establish a cross-functional team to support a ‘data lab’ to review the potential of big data to drive growth. Doing this is a challenge to leadership, culture and creativity, as it is in asking different, second order questions and imagining new ways of operating the business so that business models develop and growth opportunities are uncovered.

The white paper is available for free download from http:// emc.im/BIGDATACEO

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