“Big Data” increasingly drives our businesses, economy and lives. And yet, many companies outside Silicon Valley struggle to develop strategies that use data to optimize profits and growth. In every company, the data is there, as are the ways to measure it. But what information should you analyze, and how should you use it to make better decisions?

Ben Waber – CEO of the analytics software company Humanyze and one of the world’s foremost experts on using behavioral statistics to understand how people work – helps firms transform themselves into data-driven organizations. With a special focus on utilizing internal data to maximize employee efficiency, he teaches organizations how to create and sustain cultures that constantly experiment and evolve. Waber’s goal is to equip companies with the incredible power of information to inform and guide strategic decision-making.

Waber, a visiting scientist at the MIT Media Lab who authored “People Analytics: How Social Sensing Technology Will Transform Business and What It Tells Us about the Future of Work” (FT Press Analytics, May 2013), detailed a case study in an illuminating presentation at the World Economic Forum. Waber used digital sensors to track what employees at different branches of the same company actually do in the course of a day, and measured that data against their overall performance. Data collection, analysis and interpretation can also transform the way companies develop innovative strategies. By trialing key changes impacting employees and measuring the results through data analytics, managers will be able to see what works and what does not, before introducing such measures company-wide. Unlocking this information can provide leaders with the tools they need to understand what motivates employees to achieve better results, and make adjustments – both small and sweeping – that positively impact workers, customers and profits.

In 2019 and beyond, data analytics will play the crucial role in building the workplace of the future. Are you prepared?