What, exactly, is big data? How does it differ from the information companies have relied on for decades? How can they use it to their benefit? What about the skeptics who say it’s just hype?

Big data is here to stay. The trick is finding ways to make it work for us.

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Whether you attribute these smart words to Deming or Drucker, they explain why the recent explosion of digital data is so important.

Simply put, managers can now measure—and therefore know—more about their businesses than ever before. And they can directly translate that knowledge into improved decision making and performance.