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PGE Solutions Thick Data: Why BIG Data Isn’t Enough? - PGE Solutions

Thick Data: Why BIG Data Isn’t Enough?

Written by pgesolutions on . Posted in Blogs

A lot of articles have been written about big data and it’s essential in business. All those things are true. From client information to lead nurturing and monitoring, down to conversions – this data is vital for you to assess the health of your business. Moreover, data also vital to be able to make those important decisions as your business suddenly shift into a different strategy. Furthermore, data can predict the longevity of a product or service that you offer.

Say you have a highly functional business system or ERP, and you are mining generous sets of data that in the end will lead into a vacuum because there is a gap that needs to be filled in order to see the bigger picture. But no matter how hard you try to go through every day there is still a missing puzzle piece.

These days, big data is no longer enough, we need to have a bolder and more self-sufficient data. That is why businesses need to have good balance between quantitative and qualitative data. Big data which is highly quantitative are concrete, but if it is not well supported by qualitative data, it will be harder to decipher which areas your business falls short.


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Thick data are qualitative information that provides insights into the everyday emotional lives of consumers. They are called thick data because they are rich with raw insights that are too potent for any analysis. This may sound too ambitious but there are means to extract this from your clients and/or consumers gradually through different variations of client or consumer surveys or moreover, a continuous sophisticated FGDs (focus group discussions). Here’s how to administer the two.

  • Consumer or client Satisfaction Survey

Our consumers are not always right but 90% of the time, they know what’s best for them. In the retail and service industry, most consumers know what they really want prior to purchase. These purchase decisions are sometimes made before the first customer/client contact. Moreover, this purchase decisions are influence by their past experiences with the purchase they made.

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Customers and clients tend to speak when they felt like their feedback is sought to improve a product or services. You can infuse partly personal question (not too personal) which connects to their inspirations and motivations. After successfully implementing the survey you can dig into the answers and formulate matrices that are compiled in a cohesive manner. These matrices should come handy when you are doing analysis of your quantitative data extracted from your system.

Since survey is both quantitative and qualitative in nature you can hit two birds with one stone. However, you cannot really make an in-depth extraction of thick data from a generic question, hence, the second qualitative approach.

  • Focus Group Discussion

You’ve probably experienced being in a heated discussion in the conference room where everyone voices out their opinions and perceptions of your market and their behavior. Truth be told, no matter how experienced a person is in terms of sales, or interacting with customers and clients, it will never be enough to draw the bigger picture. Why? Because of the market forces that are beyond anyone’s control.

Market forces are changing at a fast pace these days. The clamor and motivation of the market last quarter may skew into a different degree or inclination depending on the economic push and pull and the monopoly effect of some big suppliers on the following quarter. Motivation on the other hand, is also affected by social climate and happenings both online and offline. These factors can be captured in a well-crafted sets of questions in a Focus Group Discussion.


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Focus group is a group-based, face-to-face interview of well-selected participants that represent a certain segment and a certain market. These groups are given a generic and specialized (market-fit) questions that aim to peek into these potential customer’s mind. You can’t mine everything you want to from them, but getting the most crucial data determines that success of your FGD. Therefore, an FGD is a great thick data driver for your business.


Thick data is one of the necessities of businesses that are given less priority. When we have the sales figures, the inventory, the operational expenses and all, we think that those are enough to make a decision, or enough for us to assess the business’s health. Well the truth is that, none of these will ever make a complete sense without thick data.

These data will help not only business analyst, managers, and top executives but also the front-liners who are facing and interacting with your clients or customers every day. So next time, treat every client feedback as an important piece of information that can make or break your business.

For dynamic business solutions, business intelligence or enterprise solutions needs, you can contact PGE Solutions for their wide range of cloud-based business solutions in the Philippines. This could be the mark of your thick data driven year.

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