3 Tips for Selling Your Boss on Big Data

December 19, 2013
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ImageFor more and more businesses, big data analytics is becoming a valuable tool for gaining new insights and creating competitive advantage. Still, while big data gains greater traction in IT, getting upper management to buy-in on the benefits of big data as a service (BDaaS) can be challenging.

ImageFor more and more businesses, big data analytics is becoming a valuable tool for gaining new insights and creating competitive advantage. Still, while big data gains greater traction in IT, getting upper management to buy-in on the benefits of big data as a service (BDaaS) can be challenging. This is particularly true of business executives that see “Big Data” as an abstract IT term that couldn’t possibly have anything to do with solving actual business problems in the real world. The key to promoting big data to the higher-ups is to appeal to what they care about most, which means focusing on how analytics will benefit the company’s bottom line. With that tactic in mind here are three tips for selling your boss on big data as a service.

Stick with business terminology

As comfortable as it may be for an IT person to use lots of details and technical jargon in pitching big data to execs, a far better approach is to stick with business terms that the higher ups will understand and relate to. After all, they couldn’t care less about the growing volume, variety and velocity of corporate data. They just want to know about the value of the data and the business opportunities it can create. The presentation should be simple, using key visuals to make it as clear and business-friendly as possible. Otherwise, management could come away feeling even more intimidated, confused and resistant to the term “big data” than they might already be.

Build a simple big data business case

Unlike other technologies for which there are ample public proof points to use in making a case to the boss, big data is relatively new and is still lacking in metrics to leverage. Again, the key is to keep things simple by focusing on a single business problem that the exec can relate to and then using a few metrics to show how big data is capable of solving said problem. Cost is likely to be an issue, in which case a brief and simple explanation of the reasonable costs associated with big data analytics in the cloud could help to move things in the right direction.

Turn the abstract into the concrete

Like cloud computing, big data comes across to most execs as an abstract concept that has very little relevance to the day-to-day problems they’re dealing with. The challenge then is to present the opportunity that big data can provide in a more concrete way that is clearly understood. A good way to accomplish this is by doing an internal demonstration to show the power of big data technology. For example, a demonstration applying big data analytics to the company’s social media channels will yield new results that will help execs to see the problems with the company’s current analytics technology and to recognize big data analytics as a viable solution to those problems.

History has shown that emergent technologies are always met with resistance. And big data technology is clearly no exception. In order to sell the decision makers on the advantages of adopting big data as a service, it’s best to conduct a campaign that combines business terminologies, visuals and concrete examples to spell out the benefits of big data to the company’s bottom line.

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