Big Data is a term used to describe a massive volume of both structured and unstructured data that is so large that it’s difficult to process using traditional database and software techniques. Big data—large pools of data that can be captured, communicated, aggregated, stored, and analyzed—is now part of every sector and function of the global economy.
The increasing volume and detail of information captured by enterprises, the rise of multimedia, social media, and the Internet of Things will fuel exponential growth in data for the foreseeable. Big data is more than simply a matter of size; it is an opportunity to find insights in new and emerging types of data and content, to make your business more agile, and to answer questions that were previously considered beyond your reach. The space is broad and deep and so it is important to understand how to contextualize the term ‘Big Data’ for your enterprise. You have been using “portions” of available data to drive your key performance parameters of your organization, however treat this as an additional capability to driving your business objectives. When the era is moving towards a “Data Driven Enterprise”, you have to be ahead of the curve in leveraging your data assets to outperform.
Should be Top-Down
Organizations need a cultural shift. While all the leaders want to run their organizations as a “ Data Driven Enterprise”, in reality they are just considering a very small sub set of their data. The leaderships are just starting to realize the fact that such a huge amount of data exist within their enterprise.
The Business leadership would know the organization’s business objectives than anybody down the pyramid and for that very reason, the “Big Data” initiative should be driven from the top. There should be a clear mapping of:
- Organizations Business Objectives
- How additional Insights could help for the betterment of driving business growth
- What data is already available (within and outside the enterprise)
- What additional data is required to bridge the gap
Not a Technology term but a business need
It is important to have the alignment of Technology leadership as well in the “Big Data” journey; however it is important to have enough checkpoints to ensure that the “Big Data” initiative is not sidetracked as a technology initiative. Technology should only be an enabler where business drives the need. Technology should be looked at as the foundation for creating new levels of business value leveraging data assets. Your IT department will be involved in setting things up and making sure you have the power to do “Big” on the Big Data, but it is an initiative driven by the business not the IT department
Think Big but Start Small
Now that you have clarity on your Big Data Strategy, the question is “ Where to start” or “how to start”. As businesses begin to explore the insights, efficiencies and competitive edge Big Data can bring to their organizations, it is imperative they answer the right questions before getting too far down the road into a Big Data project. The rule of thumb is to start small and that too by proving a small business scenario tapping into a specific data set. It’s better to call it as a Proving the value but note that- this is not a technology proof of concept.
Awareness with the Big Picture
Managing big data requires a transformation in both your business and IT. As change management guru John Kotter said, “Effective leaders help others to understand the necessity of change and to accept a common vision of the desired outcome.” We are just embarking on a long journey to adopt Big Data Capability and all the levels down the pyramid should have the awareness – especially with the big picture in mind. They should know how important their role is – in this whole journey. If you look bottom up- each of the piece of data that is generated by anybody in the organization is going to play a role in the informed and insight driven decision-making process, which will drive the growth.