Stanford Graduate School of Business economics professor Susan Athey, who consults for Microsoft and other technology companies, discussed with Stanford Business how voluminous data collection, cheap storage, and machine learning from data troves are changing the management of organizations — not just internet-driven newcomers but also traditional businesses.
She says that real-time collection of data from monitoring devices or from user interaction with websites enables machine learning in real time, which can improve a company’s performance relative to competitors. The internet firms are on the cutting edge of automated decision making rooted in machine learning, but it will be valuable elsewhere also. However, the companies that have logged time working with Big Data have a distinct advantage over those new to the game. Despite the level of technological prowess a company has, the extra time compiling, and learning from data is an even more valuable asset.
"In industries where machine learning is crucial to the quality of the product, you would expect to see a lot of concentration,” she said. “New firms will have difficulty getting off the ground." Read the entire interview here>