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The amount of data in our world has been exploding and analysing large data sets – so-called “big data” – will become a key basis of competition, underpinning new waves of productivity growth, innovation, and consumer surplus, according to research by MGI and McKinsey’s Business Technology Office. Leaders in every sector will have to grapple with the implications of big data, not just a few data-oriented managers. The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, the rise of multimedia, social media, and the Internet of Things will fuel exponential growth in data for the foreseeable future.
MGI studied big data in five domains – health care in the United States, the public sector in Europe, retail in the United States, and manufacturing and personal location data globally. Big data can generate value in each. For example, a retailer using big data to the full could increase its operating margin by more than 60 percent. Harnessing big data in the public sector has enormous potential, too.
If US health care were to use big data creatively and effectively to drive efficiency and quality, the sector could create more than USD 300 billion in value every year. Two-thirds of that would be in the form of reducing US health care expenditure by about 8 percent. In the developed economies of Europe, government administrators could save more than EUR 100 billion (USD 149 billion) in operational efficiency improvements alone by using big data, not including using big data to reduce fraud and errors and boost the collection of tax revenues. Users of services enabled by personal location data could capture USD 600 billion in consumer surplus.
The study predicts that by 2018, the United States alone could face a shortage of 140,000 to 190,000 people with deep analytical skills as well as 1.5 million managers and analysts with the know-how to use the analysis of big data to make effective decisions.