Streamlining (and Sustaining) the Productivity of Your Big Data

November 29th, 2013

You can’t rush Big Data – at least not to the point where it hurts your productivity.

You may want to quickly crunch all those numbers and use your data as the panacea to achieve near-immediate business results. But putting the data cart before the horse – diving into tools and systems before you have a well-defined business strategy – could prove very costly.

Big Data Growing Pains

Attaining optimal Big Data productivity is a little like raising a child: there are multiple stages of growth before it reaches maturity. Increasingly, studies have shown it will take time for companies to truly achieve and sustain the power of their data.

In its 2012 cycle, industry expert Gartner forecast that companies would achieve Big Data productivity within a two to five-year timeframe. This year, that estimate was revised to five to 10 years.

Gartner revised its predictions as these trends emerged:

  • Big Data tools and techniques were being acquired before businesses had the expertise or maturity to use them.
  • Businesses were struggling with how to ask the right questions or spot opportunities where they could harness Big Data for breakthrough insights.

Gartner describes stages, which organizations evolve through as they maximize their Big Data resources:

  • At first, companies innovate and experiment with Big Data. This is followed by a period of optimism and high expectations.
  • Then, a period of disillusionment creeps in, and companies take a “Big Data timeout.” They question whether they’re getting all the competitive-advantage results they’d expected. Then they regroup and revisit exactly what they’re trying to do via data analysis.
  • After adjusting their methodologies and expectations, companies launch a new Big Data path. At this point, they begin to see the fruits of their labor.

How to Maximize Big Data Productivity

Learn from the early history and experiences around Big Data as you make it work for your company.

  • Build your business case before you invest. Don’t shop for a tool or system until you have clear strategic direction regarding what your company expects to learn from the data.
  • Don’t shop till you’re sure. Your investment in Big Data resources is a lot like shopping for mobile devices a few years back. Everyone wants bragging rights to say they have it – and your IT department feels pressured to move forward while the “buzz” is strong. Hold off on making a purchase decision till you have those strategic sessions with your business leaders.
  • Design the right pilot project. A typical course of action using new technology is to conduct a small pilot project in order to score a quick win. Make sure your Big Data pilot is large enough that the methods used can be applied to subsequent business cases. Consider a batch, versus real-time, application as you get started. In most cases, Big Data intelligence can answer key questions just as easily in batch reporting mode – unless you work in an industry such as stock trading or high-volume retail, which demands real-time analytics.

Get Advice from a Pro

If you need direction on implementing your Big Data business strategy, turn to an expert in the field. The team at Select Group, Inc. will partner with you to set your plan on course to maximize productivity and business success. Read our related posts or give us a call today!

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