According to IBM, tackling Big Data is the biggest worry for marketing directors worldwide. They are largely well aware that the way organisations not just manage and collate their data, but put all their different sources to good use, is a matter of critical and on-going importance.

It’s rare that retailers speak out on on the topic, but Clive Humby, John Lewis’ most senior technological chief, has revealed his very practical approach, and it’s worth sharing. Here is what he had to say:

“Big data is a big hype, but an organisation like John Lewis – and any other retailer – needs to get its head around how we bring together large amounts of structured and unstructured data in a quick and effective manner, in order to generate some level of insight for how to best serve our customers, and how to best select our products.”

As a performance marketing agency driven by data, we agree. Big Data, as a collective term, does not help a great deal. Yet it is clear that across business, data holds intrinsic importance across the value chain, and when combined with human interpretation and instinct, it can give an extraordinarily powerful edge to businesses.