How big data can offer a competitive advantage

Our companies have strong appetites to learn more ways to leverage data as a competitive tool.

Greylock Partners’ Reid Hoffman has been talking about the primacy of data for a while now. With former LinkedIn colleague DJ Patil‘s appointment as data scientist in residence, Hoffman is taking steps to ensure that Greylock Partners’ portfolio investments maximize the potential of the data that they collect. Hoffman and others recognize that timely and effective analysis of data can offer real competitive advantage, even in mature markets like retail.

Within Greylock’s portfolio, companies such as Zipcar might analyze data to ensure that its cars are parked in optimal locations, and Cloudera could tailor the products and advice it offers in order to make it even easier for its customers to work with data at scale. This new thinking about data and data scientists illustrates the broader shift that is slowly under way, a shift from simply collecting big data toward gathering and using data in order to make businesses better informed.

For more on the value of data and how companies are harnessing it, see my latest weekly update at GigaOM Pro (subscription required).