The core of the case for this module involves your careful assessment of the sources of strategic enterprise information. But before you’re ready to tackle it, you need to get somewhat up to speed on the underlying issues and dynamics. The following two articles are highly suggested as briefing material:

Nobel, C. (2010) How IT Shapes Top-Down and Bottom-Up Decision Making. Working Knowledge: Harvard Business School. November 1. Retrieved November 25, 2010, from

Hayles, R.A., (2007) Planning and Executing IT Strategy. IT Professional Magazine. Sep/Oct. 9(5):12-20.

Now, one of the hottest trends in current enterprise information systems is what's often referred to as "big data" -- that is, giant databases of stuff gathered from customers (e.g., all the information about your supermarket purchases automatically entered each time you swipe your Von's or Safeway card through the checkout to get al those cool discounts), websurfing, suppliers, internal monitoring, etc. Big Data was first enabled through the enormous increases in the availability of low-cost data storage (down to $30 per terabyte at Fry's Electronics, as of today's paper), but it took the development of good data analytic tools to really spark the trend. Here are two interesting summaries of issues involved in Big Data at the moment:

LaValle, S., Lesser, E., Shockley, R., Hopkins, M. and Kruschwitz, N. (2010) Big Data, Analytics and the Path From Insights to Value. MIT Sloan Management Review. December. Retrieved September 16, 2011, from [The ptional Readings contains a link to the full report, if you're interested.]

Webster, J. (2011) Understanding Big Data Analytics. Retrieved September 16, 2011, from

There's a lot more out there in the optional and supplemental readings as well as the wide wonderful world of the Internet to give you a feel for whether or not this all makes any sense; the more widely you can spread your own information gathering net, the more effective your analysis is likely to be.

So the question for discussion basically is to what degree ought organizational decision making be driven by "evidence" derived from analysis of trends in Big Data? Are such data reliable? How much power might the analyst have over the results? What other kinds of information, if any, might be used for decision making? Big Data's not going away -- in fact, "Huge Data" may be just around the corner -- so how can we best harness this new horse to the enterprise so that it doesn't run away with everything?

Your task is pretty simple: write an effective short paper on the topic:

"To what degree should organizations depend on the analysis of large databases and other IT resources to formulate basic strategy?"