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The Problem with Big Data in Distribution

The Problem with Big Data in Distribution

September 17, 2013

As reported in MDM’s 2013 Distribution Trends Report, distributors are recognizing data’s role in helping them expand in new markets and better serve customers. As one distributor told us, “Data is the lifeblood of a distributor.”

But the idea of Big Data, the buzzword often broadly used to describe businesses’ use of data to improve decision-making and find new opportunities, can be overwhelming for companies without the resources to comb through data to find trends and act on them, according to Brent Grover of Evergreen Consulting.

“The expression 'Big Data' itself is a little intimidating. And maybe it strikes fear into the hearts of some distributors who are already overwhelmed with the data they have,” Grover says in the recent episode of MDM’s Executive Briefing, Cutting Big Data Down to Size.

Grover says that the idea of Big Data is really only applicable to some of the largest organizations in the world, such as Amazon and Google, which handle “unimaginable amounts of data in their businesses.”

But distributors can benefit from data by bringing the idea of Big Data down to a functional level, with a focus on sales, operations, purchasing and other functions in their businesses. “I don’t think the data requirements are that intimidating if they are willing to look at the data on a functional basis. … If we break it down into conveniently bite-sized pieces, we need not be concerned about Big Data,” he says. “There is a lot you can do with the data you do have.”

Hear more from Grover on how distributors can use data in a practical way in the following clip from his interview with me on the latest Executive Briefing or go here to download or listen to the full program.

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