Beyond the Build


Balancing Data and Experience in Decision Making

I spent some time recently with a couple of long-term customers. Both have national presence, but one is small and the other large. Each is successful in its own way, with the smaller company’s strategy relying a fair amount upon the corporate culture and its boots on the ground, and the larger historically using a fair amount of data and predictive analytics as a main component of their strategy.

Not so long ago, the larger firm appeared to be overloaded with data mining types collecting what seemed to be unlimited amounts of data. I’ve wondered what amount of data is the right balance and how this knowledge contributes to performance.

While both companies remain successful, I have recently seen the larger company employ a greater reliance on human insight through the lens of experience. Data collection and analytics certainly can play a role in success, but to me, mixing in a gut feeling based upon real world experiences makes it all more valuable. To be successful, we should never underestimate the power of our minds in the processing department.

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Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.