Balancing big data with intuition

Headlines have swept through the nation in the past number of days condemning big data versus the age-old technique of "going with your gut" when it comes to making a major decision, with some controversial results.

According to a recent study by business-to-business research firm Gyro, 62 percent of the 720 business leaders surveyed said they would follow their intuition before basing a decision on "hard analytics" alone, and 61 percent agreed that real-world experience was a better decision measurement than big data services. Media outlets have shared this revelation as bad news for those who vend cloud infrastructures, but such couldn't be further from the truth - when it comes down to it, the two can coexist in perfect harmony if a business plays its cards right.

Big data is a measurement of real-life experience
Does this study mean the end of big data's positive relationship with big business? Christoph Becker, the CEO at Gyro, explained the results to Mashable contributor T.L. Stanley.

"Any big decision can't be made in a vacuum of analytics," he elaborated. "It's underscored by a rational structure, but emotion has to lead."

With Becker's comments in mind, it's easy to see that the takeaway of the study isn't that big data is doomed, but rather that those who use it need to adjust their mindset on how it factors into the business decision-making process. The cloud computing tool is able to provide a wide spread of data depending on what a vested statistic would be for any given business, and should be used to support or raise potential concerns with the gut feeling that an executive wants to run with.

As with any other tool, the cloud server can't make a smart choice for you, but it can provide information that will show evidence about consumer trends that can make your next move clear. If one's intuition and the raw data happen to match up, all the better - if not, it's an important discussion to have.

The value to trusting your gut
While the value of intuition may be baffling to some, its often uncanny accuracy has some serious science backing it up. Though a "gut instinct" sounds like a made-up element, intuition is based in the brain. Psychotogy Today contributor Kelly Turner explained further in a recent piece, labeling two parts of the brain involved in decision-making.

"System 1 is our quick, instinctual, and often subconscious way of operating - it is controlled by our right brain and by other parts of our brain that have been around since prehistoric times, known as the "limbic" and reptilian" parts of our brain," Turner stated. "System 2 is our slower, more analytical, and conscious way of operating - it is controlled by our left brain."

Big data, while highly intelligent and informative, doesn't have the intrinsic, reactionary functions that the human brain does, and should be seen as a companion in the process of making choices.

For savvy businessmen, it's never a decision between using big data and their own experience and intuition - it's a balancing act, and the two elements can feed off of each other to make an intelligent, informed choice for a company.

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