6 Ways Big Data Could Damage Your Business—and What to Do About It

because when change is swift and constant, competitive threats can come out of nowhere, in no time, and do a great deal of damage.

4. Mind the Store

In addition to the consumer side of big data, companies in the next few years will be dealing with ever-larger amounts of internally generated data. In many organizations, however, information is still siloed in different departments, preventing them from sharing useful information with each other. Companies that figure out how to communicate more transparently without destroying the practical advantages of silos and departments will have a competitive advantage in the future.

The solution: Data management is a challenge for everyone, but a big part of that challenge is finding people with the experience and training necessary to serve the company's needs, especially as it grows. Superior education and training of data-management personnel will pay huge dividends down the road, even if it seems like an unnecessary expense now.

5. Listen to the Machine

As organizations evolve, silo walls are broken down, and data analysis becomes an increasingly important business process, there will come a time when the data suggests that big changes need to be made. As more and more decisions are dictated by data-driven analytics, one of the hardest things for people to do will be to let the machines decide. Unfortunately, the decision might be important, and the machine might be right.

The solution: Listen to what the data is telling you, and try to use it as intelligently as possible. Don't abandon your instincts or intuition—but do use all the information available to inform your gut decision. Otherwise, your gut might betray you.

6. Instant Dissatisfaction

One of the downsides of an intimate personal connection with customers is the intimate personal connections you have with customers who are angry or dissatisfied. These days, every customer has in the palm of their hand the means to let the world know how unsatisfied they are, and they rather enjoy using that power. And as every marketer knows, one angry customer can cause a lot of damage.

The solution: As always, responsiveness is the key to customer service, and every disgruntled customer can, with the right response, be converted into a brand champion. Fortunately, the same technology that allows customers to register their dissatisfaction also allows companies to address issues and concerns more or less instantaneously. The more instantaneous the response, the better it is for everyone.

Owen Shapiro is the author of Brand Shift: The Future of Brands and Marketing. A market researcher, strategist, and speaker, he has spent more than 30 years studying customer insights and market strategy.

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