The explosion of data collection promises so much. Where once companies were only able to collect structured data from limited sources; now they can mine everything from social media to call center transcripts, with more and more big data tools available to process a far wider range of information. So, those who collect the most data are best positioned to gain a competitive advantage, right?

Not so fast. When companies try to use their newfound wealth of data for a specific purpose (e.g., to decide whether to launch a new product), they invariably discover some glaring gaps in the information they require. Why are companies still finding themselves short of the right data to answer key business questions? The answer is that they didn’t design their data collection processes with those exact questions in mind.

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