Monday, September 29, 2014

3 Useful tips for executives planning to make use of big data

Many companies disembark on big data journey for all the good reasons but do not necessarily end up in a good place after having spent large chunks of corporate change on it. Generally there could be many reasons for this but it would take a team of experts to analyze each situation to come up with the root cause(es). This post is mostly targeted for executives who have the desire to make use of big data and want to ensure their staff has the right high level guidance at the onset so that they can manage transition to big data in an effective and timely manner. Since being on time and budget are the two most important metrics for an executive.

Following are the three hints -
  1. Paying attention to data stream - Businesses generate data in real time and the tools that make use of data should also be real time. Looking at a snapshot of data in a warehouse for example might throw up some interesting observations but you should be able to get the same guidance in real time. Hence focus on Streaming Analytics.
  2. Relying on data scientists as opposed to data analysts - Data scientists are trained not only with data analytics skills but also posses good technical/programming skills. Without having hands on technical skills,  they become dependent on IT staff thereby slowing down the entire process. Many companies are either hiring or acquiring companies that posses these advanced skills.
  3. Moving analytics from IT into core business functions - If you have an analytics department or group tucked away in out reaches of your company, its time to make some changes. They should be front and center of your main business organizations. Following are the three main reasons for this recommendation-
  • Allows for not having to replicate or sync multiple data marts/warehouses/stores etc. Helps at technical level. Big red flag - it is easy to underestimate the cost of having to do so. 
  • Functional groups tend to trust their own finding/analysis more than when it comes from an external adjunct group such as IT. This is just part of corporate culture.
  • Saves time since this obsoletes need for replicating data which in turn leads to time being wasted waiting for the process of analyzing the data to finish for results to be known. 
For reasons listed above, executives will be well advised to have each functional group that can make use of big data to create a focused team of data scientists within the group. If you have a central group of data analysts go ahead and disband it. Its best for your corporate goals.

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