aNewDomain.net — Big data is as huge and imposing as an iceberg. But most businesses are merely looking at the tip of the data iceberg. In concept, everybody agrees that analyzing large data sets from multiple sources can be leveraged to boost productivity. Unfortunately, many organizations are still not sure what to do with the insights gleaned from big data.
“It’s almost as if this is a solution looking for a problem,” said Debra Logan, Gartner Vice President and data analyst, reports ZDNet.com. She estimates that up to 97 percent of businesses, outside of those specializing in research, are missing out on big-data benefits because they feel behind the curve.
If you’re a business owner, don’t let big data pass you by. Here are some tips on how to use it to your advantage:
Tip #1: Identify your organization’s problems and consider how data can help. Think about the tangible results you would like to make happen before delving into complex data analyses. “Big data can unlock significant value by making information transparent and usable at a higher frequency,” reports the McKinsey Global Institute. So think about action-oriented results and work with a business process strategist who can merge the goals with big data.
Tip #2: Start simple: consider internal data first. Leveraging data within your organization could be enough to start addressing your company’s goals. Examples of variables can include sick days, performance information and product inventories. Analyzing this sort of digitized, transactional data can unlock new insights.
“People tend to think of big data as social media and the Internet of Things (IoT). They feel the need to immediately go outside of the enterprise to mine that type of data, and sometimes that is necessary,” writes Ron Kasabian for InformationWeek. “But integrating outside data adds complexity. I would argue that there is a significant amount of untapped value in the data inside the organization.”
Tip #3: Set milestones and be realistic. If something doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to move on. Data is data: it’s up to you to interpret how relevant it is to the needs of your organization. Prioritize and focus your efforts on data analyses that best serve the most-important needs of your company.
“We pulled in several external data sources and blended it with our own. After several months, we found the quality and context of the different forecasts was not effective enough to include so we moved the project to the back burner. Now we have a better understanding of how to carefully assess the viability of external data sources before we head too far down the solution path,” says InformationWeek.
Don’t be distracted by data analyses that aren’t worth the effort. Prioritize goals and shape data analyses accordingly.
Tip #4: Skeptics may need convincing. New approaches wouldn’t be groundbreaking if they didn’t shake up the old way people do things. Any new approach may be met with reluctance, skepticism or confusion by others in pivotal positions. It might take some evidence-based results to build trust with those who are unfamiliar with new approaches to problem solving. You can be the bridge that links forward-thinking strategy with more-commonly-accepted approaches.
Tip #5: Always stay flexible. Keep in mind that big data tools are young and still evolving. Methodologies will undoubtedly change over time. It’s not a one-time investment, but a commitment to shifting along with the growing capacities of these technologies. Flexibility is the key to understanding big data insights. Undoubtedly you and your business will need to pivot and adjust throughout the process.
For aNewDomain.net, I’m Raquel Cool.
Raquel Cool is a Silicon Valley-based writer who covers various technology topics, ranging from information technology to health and life science. Raquel’s work has been published by the National Post, The Bold Italic, Hyphen Magazine and aNewDomain.net.