BIG DATA - the buzz word of the century, but how to approach this?
Big data is just valuable data that is collected and supports real decision making in the organization - as simple as that, but also very difficult if treated as a new monster and dealt with as such.
Here is my take on the important pains/gains and how to start:
Find the pains - to get the gains!
The arms race is on between SAP, Adobe, SAS Institute and Salesforce - supplemented by local social media, web and lead-generating software platforms - to win the game of business intelligence and/or marketing automation by Big Data collection. It is a promised land, but if you do not have a very clear goal with your data collection (or the decisions you want to make based on the data) the chance of investing in the right platform is low.
Do not start in the IT department and talking to IT vendors to solve Big Data, but start with your own business requirements and outside-in market perspective to establish a clear ground of which decision you need to make in order to improve your daily business. It is in the pains, which takes the most time, involve the highest risk and the most resources to solve, you need to be focusing. This is the place to start!
Just make “better” decision - to avoid bad ones!
Data is illusive! Just as powerful as data can be, when utilized correctly, just as harmful can it be when presented as the universal truth to solving complex problems. The wrong love for Big Data is when people fall in love with applying data to problem solving without a sense of real life effects. Enter a combination of thinking, gut feeling and sufficient data = the right foundation for good decision making.
What is sufficient data? - well 9 out of 10 companies suffer data-overload at the moment, so do we need more data? - start to collect the data you have, even though it is by utilizing “just” an excel spreadsheet and correlate these data to the real world scenarios and results. It is my experience that the cause-effect of even small amounts of data applied to real-world scenarios create amazing business impact and much better decision making in real time - as a result avoid bad decision making!
Minimize your risks - while optimizing your results
It is always a goal to minimize risk and optimize results in any business, but the first step in minimizing risk is not to invest in the right big data platform - it is to start learning how collected and evaluated the data that can help you make better decisions. When you know how, when and what to collect to actually derive value from data (probably utilizing the excel spreadsheet approach) you are one step closer to minimizing important risks in your business - and keep your job along the way ;)
Big data is just data - that you actually can handle in the organization in terms of resources and ability to act accordingly - and systems are not better than the data you input/output from them. Therefore the step-by-step approach suffice for more than 80% of the companies struggling to solve their big data paradigm today and by acknowledging this creates the ability to actually optimize their results!