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Using Big Data Alongside Thick Data

Technology ethnographer Tricia Wang popularized the term “thick data” to mean the qualitative, harder-to-measure information about consumers that big data fails to address. Thick data differs from big data because thick data gathers ethnographic data that reveals the emotions and contexts of consumers. While big data relies on machine learning to decipher, process and analyze given data sets, thick data shows people’s emotional and social information. While different, big data and thick data are two sides of the same coin and work together to complement all aspects of customer research.

An online Master of Business Administration (MBA) – Business Systems and Analytics Specialization from La Salle University can enhance your ability to transform data into valuable insights and understand the importance of big data and thick data while driving organizational success as a leader in today’s competitive business environment.

Why Use Big Data and Thick Data Together?

Tricia Wang has noted that big data sometimes overlooks humans’ nuances and hidden motives. In today’s data-driven business world, companies seek to connect with their customer base in new ways. Marketers collect huge amounts of information that provide an enormous amount of quantitative data regarding their customers. Thick data, according to Wang, reveals “depth of meanings and stories.” Big data is far from stories and personal experiences. However, organizations can balance cold information and unique stories when combining big data with the information gleaned from the ethnographic research methods from thick data.

Thick data allows a company to understand the “why” behind consumers’ habits, while big data analyzes the when, where, what and how. Comprehending the depth of meaning and emotional stories of customers can influence business decisions, inspire sensitivity towards customer needs and build empathy.

How an MBA Can Help

Data analysis and digital data are a large part of the business world. From consumer-driven data to business intelligence, professionals need to analyze it to provide insight and guide business decisions. La Salle’s online MBA – Business Systems and Analytics Specialization program enables students to build general business knowledge related to database design, business systems analysis, and data warehousing and mining. This degree program can help students prepare for leadership roles in marketing, business intelligence, business processes, supply chains, equity research and more.

Specializing in business systems and analytics can provide students with the experience and skills to thrive in a complex business role. Organizations focus on technology and systems that can examine complex data sets, and employers want the best people to work with that technology. As more businesses are interested in collecting data to influence their decision-making and business goals, professionals with an MBA are an attractive fit in their search for top talent.

MBA graduates with specializations have a strong employment history, and those with solid experience in data are typically preferred. Professionals interested in expanding their knowledge and building new skills should consider La Salle’s online MBA program which is convenient for working students with busy schedules and prepares them with the latest learning and teaching technologies to provide real-life experiences.

Learn more about La Salle University’s online Master of Business Administration – Business Systems and Analytics Specialization program.

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