Can the choice of phone bias "big data"?

Much has been said about how Big Data can improve how businesses conduct their operations. The premise is that it improves efficiency and helps managers make better decisions. While I agree with this general assessment, big data can be a double-edged sword. It helps on one hand; but also raises issues on privacy, discrimination and bias on the other. In this post, I give an example of how the choice of the device collecting the data (your phone) can bias big data.

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What Can Google Trends Tell Managers About Predicting Sales?

By some estimates, Google processes over 40,000 searches every second! Can managers use this torrent of search data, often free and fine-grained, to predict the sales of their products? The premise is that a search for certain terms signals an intent to buy specific products.

My research says the answer is yes! Based on working with multiple retailers, managers can expect anywhere from a 3-8% reduction in prediction errors when search information is included in forecasting models.

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