When Businesses Integrate Big and Small Data Across the Enterprise, Business Thrives


New research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, sponsored by FocusVision, proves the transformative business power of customer insights

NEW YORK—October 29, 2019—Today, leading provider of customer insights technology FocusVision unveiled the findings of a sponsored research study conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services: “Beyond Big Data: Why Small Data Integration Is the Key to CXM Success.” In a survey of 619 marketers, 98% of respondents believe that knowing their customers is crucial to an effective customer experience strategy, but less than a quarter think their organization currently know their customers (all this despite companies collecting more customer data than at any point in history).

“All businesses are focused on customer experience as a business driver and for this reason have been spending money on collecting data to inform their strategy. But, according to this study, most are not seeing the benefits of increased revenue or customer loyalty,” said Zlatko Vucetic, FocusVision’s Chief Executive Officer. “The reason for this is because they are not collecting the right data and therefore guessing at what matters to their customer. However, the study shows that companies that are not only collecting Big Data but also trying small data methodologies such as trackers and surveys, mobile diaries, online communities, and focus groups have a deeper understanding of their customers and are seeing measurable business benefits from their CX strategy.”

The research shines a light on a small group of Leaders (15%) who indicate their organizations are operating with an effective customer experience strategy, due to the integration of big and small data to provide a holistic view of their customers. These Leaders are proving that through integration they are significantly more likely to grow revenue, increase profitability, and achieve other business goals, thanks to their deep level of customer understanding.

“The deeper insight into customers that comes with combining both big and small data sets is paramount,” said Alex Clemente, Managing Director, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services. “Companies that are not prioritizing how to reach this level of specificity will continue to revert to making suboptimal decisions and always under-deliver on customer experience.”

For more insights and information on how to grow your business through customer-centric data, download “Beyond Big Data: Why Small Data Integration Is the Key to CXM Success” here.


HBR surveyed 619 HBR Advisory Council and HBR e-newsletter readers: 46 percent of global survey participants were from the US; 19 percent from Europe; 21% from Asia, with the remainder from the rest of the world. Survey participants are employed in organizations with revenue of $5BN+ and at least 1000 employees, and have some experience with CX management within their organization.

Additionally, qualitative interviews were conducted with about a dozen companies and experts including Martin Lindstrom, founder and chairman of Lindstrom Company and author of Small Data: The Tiny Clues that Uncover Huge Trends; Michael Tamayo, client experience lead at MD Financial; Gerry Murray, research director with IDC’s Marketing and Sales Technology service; Alan Ho, Autodesk’s principal experience designer; and Katie Lechner, Gap’s head of global consumer insight.

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