Extracting value from Big Data to gain a competitive edge


"This program is great and very hands on which is the preferred approach for transferring knowledge and skills” according to Nsikan Umoren from Nigeria who joined the 5-day executive Turn Big Data into Competitive Advantage program. Due to the current circumstances, the program was taught online.

Managers and executives need to deeply understand the drivers of the success of their organizations. Most organizations generate a wealth of data or at least have access to a wealth of data. Data however is not the same thing as information, and not the same as knowledge. Data is not helping an organization succeed if an organization does not have the tools for interpreting these data or the expertise to use data analytical tools. Managers and executives do increasingly need to be data savvy themselves. With this context in mind Vincent Feltkamp, Assistant Professor of Management Information Systems at MSM, created this interactive online program.

Big Data and Competitive Advantage
The first day dealt with successful strategies of organizations like Disney, Facebook, Google, and Waze, who were able to create or extract a huge amount of data and turn it into valuable insights in order to increase customer satisfaction and remain profitable and competitive. In addition, the participants analyzed cases on Facebook’s and Disney’s value creations. In the afternoon, the participants worked on an individual assignment in which they assessed their own organization and came up with creative ideas, redesigning processes, products or business plans to create, extract and use valuable data. Nsikan considered the case analysis and self-assessment of his organization as very useful: “Every organization has potential to improve its process or situation and data analysis provides the foundation to growth and improvement.”

Data visualization using Tableau
On Tuesday, Vincent showed the participants all the possibilities of using Tableau, a powerful data analytics and data visualization tool that help people to see and understand data. After a demo showing the ins and outs of Tableau the participants started working on their individual assignments in which they assessed the data sources needed for their own data usage gathered on the first day.

Business Intelligence
Visualizing data is half the work and often leads to deeper questions which can be answered with Microsoft Azure Studio. On Wednesday, the participants learned that through this platform, several advanced machine learning methods are available, to answer classification, clustering, and regression type of questions on big data. After a demonstration of the Mircosoft Studio Azure tool, the participants started working on their own data analysis model based on demo data.

Modeling and Simulation
On Thursday, the participants got introduced to Ithink, a simulation tool necessary to understand the behavior of data in case of feedback loops. In the past few days, the focus was on linear thinking, from cause to consequence, but in real-life this is not always the case. Even very simple models present behavior that is not easy to understand. Vincent shared his knowledge on nonlinear thinking and showed a demo of the IThink tool. The assignment of the day was about analyzing your organization and assess where to apply system thinking to the processes. The introduction to several data management and reporting tools was very much appreciated by the participants “This program gave us access to some interesting data management and reporting tools that I can use afterwards. This will help me to get used to the tools and choose which one is more convenient and feasible to support my daily task as a researcher in the future.” According to Vience Mutiara (Indonesia).

Presentation & Evaluation
The last day of the program started with a lecture on IT for Big Data. Based on this lecture, the participants analyzed their own organization and considered the needs for different IT tools. In the afternoon, the participants discussed their plans for their organization.

Although Vience thought the program was too short to cover everything about Big Data it has been very valuable to her: “Dealing with big data has become an essential part of my professional work as a researcher in the Ministry of Communication and Informatics of the Republic of Indonesia. Through this program, I learned more about data management and reporting tools that help me to understand the logical flow of the data model, to test the model, and also to read the possible meaning of the analyzed data. Furthermore, this program offered me to chance to learn how to use programs such as Tableau, Ithink and Microsoft Azure.

Would you like to join the Turn Big Data into Competitive Advantage program as well?
The next 5-day Turn Big Data into Competitive Advantage program will take place from 7 – 11 June 2021. In case you would like to join, make sure you apply before 10 May 2021.

About MSM’s executive education programs
In today’s rapidly changing world, it is important for leaders and professionals to keep their knowledge and skills up to date and relevant. Investing in executive education is investing in your future. At MSM, we embrace this lifelong learning approach! MSM’s hands-on executive programs, led by thought leaders and business experts, provide a practical and action-oriented learning experience and are designed to have an immediate impact on performance.

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