The New York Times has an extensive article on how companies are exploiting big data analytics to create competitive advantages. The key take away from the article is:
In business, economics and other fields … decisions will increasingly be based on data and analysis rather than on experience and intuition. We can start being a lot more scientific.
Research analysis cited by the article suggests that companies adopting “data driven decision making” can achieve material productivity gains.
… the march of quantification, made possible by enormous new sources of data, will sweep through academia, business and government. There is no area that is going to be untouched.