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Making sense of Big Data – can it transform operations management?

Olga Matthias (Department of Operations and Information Management, University of Bradford School of Management, Bradford, UK)
Ian Fouweather (Department of Operations and Information Management, University of Bradford School of Management, Bradford, UK)
Ian Gregory (Department of Operations and Information Management, University of Bradford School of Management, Bradford, UK)
Andy Vernon (PA Consulting Group, Manchester, UK)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 3 January 2017

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to focus on the application and exploitation of Big Data (BD) to create competitive advantage. It presents a framework of application areas, and how they help the understanding of targeting and scoping specific areas for sustainable improvement. Empirical evidence demonstrates the application of BD in practice and tests the framework.

Design/methodology/approach

An exploratory approach is adopted to the secondary research which examines vendors’ offerings. The empirical research used the case study method.

Findings

The findings indicate that there is opportunity to create sustainable competitive advantage through the application of BD. However there are social, technological and human consequences that are only now beginning to emerge which need to be addressed if true long-term advantage is to be achieved.

Research limitations/implications

The research develops a framework and tests it only in two dimensions. This should be expanded. The vendor analysis limitations lie within the nature of the information available and the difficulties in mitigating against bias.

Practical implications

The suggested framework can help academics and managers to identify areas of opportunity to do so, setting new levels of performance and new agendas for business.

Originality/value

This work contributes to service operations management, building on Kranzberg (1986) and the impact of technology and on Fosso Wamba et al. (2015) by developing a systems application framework to further understanding of BD from a practical perspective to extend their research taxonomy insights. The case studies demonstrate how the use of BD enhances operational performance.

Keywords

Citation

Matthias, O., Fouweather, I., Gregory, I. and Vernon, A. (2017), "Making sense of Big Data – can it transform operations management?", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 37-55. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJOPM-02-2015-0084

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited