1. Data is a vital raw material of the information economy, just as coal and iron were in the Industrial Revolution. The quantity of business data doubles every 1.2 years according to one estimate. This is happening due to the current surge coming from sophisticated computer tracking of shipments, sales, suppliers and customers, as well as e-mail, Web traffic and social network comments.

2. Analyzing and mining these big new data sets can open the door to a new wave of innovation, accelerating productivity and economic growth. By understanding and exploiting Internet-scale data sets new business opportunities will emerge. Why? Because marketers will be able to predict consumer behavior and market shifts. Thus, every manager will have to be able to understand something about statistics and experimental design. They must grasp the principles of data analytics and be able to ask the right questions.

3. The McKinsey Global Institute, the research arm of McKinsey, just released a new major study titled "Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity". The study makes estimates of the potential benefits from deploying data-harvesting technologies and skills. Consumers worldwide could save more than $600 billion annually by 2020 due to the use of personal location data. This will occur as computers increasingly determine users' whereabouts by tracking their mobile devices, like cell phones.

4. The biggest single consumer benefit according to the study is going to come from time and fuel savings. Consumers will be able to tap into real-time traffic and weather data that can help drivers avoid congestion and suggest alternative routes. This information will either come from a drivers' mobile phone or in car GPS system.

5. Health care will gain $300 billion by having more effective data to make treatment decisions. The new data will create new tools to make better clinical decisions; and support and assist doctors with comparative effectiveness research. This will result in more informed decisions on drug therapy. This will require electronic health records for tracking results.

6. The biggest challenge will be finding 140,000 - 190,000 more people with deep analytical skills. According to McKinsey the United States will need 1.5 million more data-literate managers, either retrained or hired.

Steve's new book You Can't Fall Off The Floor - The Insiders' Guide to Re-Inventing Yourself and Your Career chronicles his 50 year career working for over 25 different companies with 189 lessons learned and insider tips from Gayle King, Cathie Black, Chuck Townsend and 28 others; Blacker is still going strong today as a partner in Frankfurt & Blacker Solutions, LLC. His web site is blacker-reinventions.com and e-mail address is blackersolutions@aol.com

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