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When is Big Data too much data?

big_data_the_force_thats_good_for_consumers_and_society_2_638As Big Data becomes the norm in the credit industry and others, the seemingly non-stop efforts to accumulate more and more data leads me to ask the question – when is Big Data too much data?  The answer doesn’t lie in the quantity of data itself, but rather in the application of it – Big Data is too much data when you can’t use it to make better decisions.

So what do I mean by a better decision? From any number of perspectives, the answer to that question will vary. From the viewpoint of a marketer, maybe that decision is about whether new data will result in better response rates through improved segmentation. From a lender perspective, that decision might be about whether a borrower will repay a loan or the right interest rate to charge the borrower.

That is one the points of the hype around Big Data – it is helping companies and individuals in all sorts of situations make better decisions – but regardless of the application, it appears that the science of Big Data must not just be based on an assumption that more data will always lead to better decisions, but that more data can lead to better decisions – if it is also the “right data”.

Then how does one know when another new data source is helping? It’s not obvious that additional data won’t help make a better decision. It takes an expert to understand not only the data employed, but ultimately the use of the data in the decision-making process. It takes expertise that is not found just anywhere.

At Experian, one of our core capabilities is based on the ability to distinguish between data that is predictive and can help our clients make better decisions, and that which is noise and is not helpful to our clients.  Our scores and models, whether they be used for prospecting new customers, measuring risk in offering new credit, or determining how to best collect on an outstanding receivable, are all designed to optimize the decision making process.

Learn more about our big data capabilities