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risky business

4 Business Risks That Might Prevent Big Data ROI

September 9, 2016 by Paul Barsch

Evaluating risk vs. return of a big data initiative can be tricky, especially because the open source market is so active and fluid. Financial risk aside, business risk actually plays the bigger spoiler in properly estimating future cash flows and profitability of a big data project.[read more]

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3 Big Data Potholes to Avoid

December 16, 2015 by Paul Barsch

Gartner cites a disturbing statistic that should give everyone considering a big data project caution: Through 2017, “60% of big data projects will fail to go beyond piloting and experimentation and will be abandoned.” This estimation may not necessarily be a troubling statistic as it’s often better to fail fast and quit an IT project than keep feeding money to a bad idea.[read more]

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Is Cloud Sameness Dangerous to Competitive Advantage?

November 9, 2015 by Paul Barsch

As more companies turn to cloud computing, and use the same applications available from a specific cloud provider, there could be danger of losing elements of competitive advantage wrought by technological advances.[read more]

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Wasted Breath: Data Alone Won’t Convince

October 19, 2015 by Paul Barsch

As more organizations adopt fact-based decision making, the mantra of “show me the data” is increasingly prevalent. That’s too bad though, because in trying to persuade an audience regarding your point of view (POV), you will need more than data to convince.[read more]

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Less Dogma Equals Better Decision Making

August 17, 2015 by Paul Barsch
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Some of the biggest breakthroughs come as a result of challenging assumptions; especially those that are commonly accepted. But first you'll need to put processes, systems and people in place to continually overcome preconceived notions.[read more]

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A Day Late and Big Data Architecture Short

June 29, 2015 by Paul Barsch

In the mad-dash to “do something” in big data without a strategy, IT managers and business users alike seem to continuously jump on the latest technology (today it’s Spark) and thus become inevitable case studies for Gartner’s well documented hype cycle.[read more]

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Why Returning $1 Trillion to Shareholders is a Bad Idea

May 4, 2015 by Paul Barsch

Risky Business column.

With creaking IT infrastructures and under-investment in other areas such as plants, equipment, employee training and more, excessive share buybacks aren't just a flawed strategy; they are a dangerous one for the future health of companies across the globe.[read more]

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Problems with the Language of Probability

April 6, 2015 by Paul Barsch

Risky Business column.

Using probabilistic terminology to communicate the “likelihood” of an event occurring to those untrained in understanding such terms, can in some instances lead to the ruin of careers, companies and in worst cases—loss of life.[read more]

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Hygienic Hadoop Data Lakes Not Just Happenstance

February 23, 2015 by Paul Barsch

Risky Business column.

If you work with Hadoop on a daily basis you already know that data cannot simply be dumped into Hadoop’s file system and be of high value to rank and file business users. To be sure, data management is crucial if you’re planning on Hadoop serving as a true lake or “hub” for all your organization’s data.[read more]

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Is Your IT Architecture Ready for Big Data?

January 6, 2015 by Paul Barsch

Risky Business column.

Companies desperately need to assess their current situation and future business needs, and then design and deliver on a IT architecture that will deliver insights from all data types.[read more]

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Changing Your Mind About Big Data Isn’t Dumb

December 9, 2014 by Paul Barsch

Risky Business column.

While big data technologies have enjoyed plenty of hype, there’s a new reality setting in regarding getting more value from big data investments. With this in mind, it's OK to step back for a moment, pause your programs for a time if necessary, and—yes, even change your mind about big data.[read more]

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Storytelling with the Sounds of Big Data

November 10, 2014 by Paul Barsch

Risky Business column.

Trying to internally “sell” the merits of a big data program to your executive team? Numbers and facts probably won’t make the sales pitch complete. You will also need to appeal to the emotional side of the sale by incorporating the sounds of big data.[read more]

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3 Tips to Make You a Genius Forecaster

October 13, 2014 by Paul Barsch
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Forecasting is hard, and even those who sometimes get it right, often fail on a continuous basis. But fear not, there are three steps you can take to drastically improve your forecast accuracy, but you’ll have to be willing to put in the work, and possibly put your ego aside to get there.[read more]

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CAPEX Deferred Eventually Makes the Company Sick

September 22, 2014 by Paul Barsch
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Risky Business column.

Instead of investments in IT, machinery, buildings and more, CEOs and CFOs are content to predominantly spend cash on stock buy-backs and/or dividends. Deferring CAPEX spend, or “sweating the assets” will work for a little while, but it’s not a strategy for long-term success.[read more]

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Building Information Technology Liquidity

August 25, 2014 by Paul Barsch

Risky Business column.

In the financial world, liquid assets can allow companies to react and capitalize on market opportunities. Liquidity in IT means that companies have enough extra compute firepower, people resources and are agile enough with IT processes to respond to unplanned events and demand, in whatever shape, form or order they arrive.[read more]