Thursday, June 7, 2012

Big data's biggest user -- finance

At least that's what WP says today.  Traders track tweets for signs of optimism or lack thereof to anticipate where the stock market is moving.  Analysts now gauge sales performance from Amazon comments; why wait for the monthly or quarterly sales figures from the government or corporate reports?

The article makes another important point that anyone who has tried to do economic or financial forecasting has known for some time: your analysis is only as good as the data and big data does not necessarily mean better data.  The stock market always has been subject to herd behavior, but at least the herd had to buy or sell to move the market before.  Now hedge funds are making the same bets in an attempt to guess which way the herd might move.  Investor beware. 

NC State MBA and Master of Accounting students are starting to get training in how to harness big data, but we are focusing on marketing, technology commercialization and risk management.  These are areas where data-driven decision making has a history of allowing managers to make more informed judgments about how to create value. 

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