Women in Big data… and the small data?

The event this past March 2020 was great, the first edition of Women In Big Data at the Cisco Co-innovation Center in Barcelona, with the collaboration of Núria Jordi from Cisco, María de Olano and Anna Closas from Salesforce, and Nahia Orduña from vodafone


1) We are in the 4th Industrial Revolution, which has meant going from companies focused on the product (one stop shop like Wallmart) to companies focused on consumer demand (a shop for all like Amazon). And it’s easy to see if you’re a company that has already made the switch: as easy as counting how many times you have to say NO to your customers. The more times, the further away you are from a customer centric mentality.

2) How is digital transformation achieved? It is not about renewing the entire squad, but about evolving. And there are 4 necessary disciplines:

a) Customer centric: Evolve from a mentality focused on producing standardized products on a large scale and then “place” / sell them to your customer, towards a mentality focused on satisfying your customer’s demand. It’s about creating experiences that entice you, not just making a transaction. The trick? Get products / services that involve the minimum effort for both your customers and your employees.

b) One team around the customer: it is not about creating a “customer centric” department, but about reducing the compartmentalization of companies into a thousand departments, creating project teams (cross functional teams), sharing the results of the metrics between all the employees, working with more horizontal structures,… Your client thinks that «your complexity is not my problem», so all the members of your team have to have power and the data to respond to the demands of the clients.

c) R&D: if after the 3rd Industrial Revolution 10% was invested in innovation, this must now be invested until 70% is dedicated to it. Technology alone is not the answer, but without technology and innovation there is no answer.

d) Real time big data insights: today everything changes at breakneck speed. One investigation a year is not enough, but you have to be in “on track” mode. But big data is not free, nor can customers be stolen: you have to earn that data. In order to get your data, we need to provide the customer with an unparalleled user experience that encourages them to give us their data (as Google maps does). It is no longer about focusing on the product, but on the experience, understood as the sum of all the touchpoints. Big data would also give us insights into what is to come, which should allow us to design new experiences.

My reflections:

After so much talk about big data, I was wondering what the role of qualitative research and small data will be. And María de Olano made interesting reflections to my understanding:

– from the perspective of big data, small data is both qualitative and quantitative research

– qualitative research still has a relevant role: helping to understand the whys and wherefores

– the real question is: what will happen to those of us who do qualitative and quantitative research as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning evolve further? And how much longer for it?

What is your opinion?