How to Develop a Big Data Adoption Game Plan

July 1, 2014
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ImageBig data is definitely not a secret anymore. By now you’ve likely heard about it several times over and then some. That doesn’t mean big data can’t be incredibly useful for companies, allowing them to smooth out their operations and effectively engage with customers, but big data’s strengths and weaknesses are pretty well-known by now.

ImageBig data is definitely not a secret anymore. By now you’ve likely heard about it several times over and then some. That doesn’t mean big data can’t be incredibly useful for companies, allowing them to smooth out their operations and effectively engage with customers, but big data’s strengths and weaknesses are pretty well-known by now. Despite all the information out there, some businesses are still hesitant to make full use of it. Part of that hesitation may be with uncertainty over how to properly implement it or even if big data is the right fit for their business. It’s certainly easy to say companies should use big data, but it’s another thing entirely to make it a significant part of the company. If you’re still uneasy on how to adopt big data, below you’ll find some guidelines that should help you form a game plan.

Using big data means having to deal with a flood of new information. Think of it like trying to drink from a firehose; companies without the capabilities to deal with the deluge will soon find themselves underwater. In fact, the volume of data is often listed as the biggest challenge facing enterprises. That’s why before collecting big data, businesses need to have a plan in place for assembling and integrating that data. That also includes knowing where to look for that data. With today’s technological capabilities and online society, much of the data will be found outside the organization. Creating ways to harness that information is essential if companies want to use big data.

Another important part of a big data adoption game plan is the need for structural changes within a business. The organization that often exists in businesses nowadays is a remnant of the past when companies used small data. That means vital information may be kept within organizational silos. Tearing down the walls between departments so that data and information can flow freely is a necessary step. This increased collaboration between business sectors can often provide new insights into problems affecting the company or ways to spur new growth.

At the same time that organizational changes are happening, there also needs to be a shift in a company’s culture. Many businesses have looked at data as an end-result, something they look at after implementing a particular strategy or practice. But that type of mindset should be eliminated for a modern business to thrive. Instead, companies should foster an environment and culture that’s more data-driven. People within the company should look at problems and go with the mindset of using big data to come up with a solution. These strategies usually require some experimentation on the business’s part, an idea that many managers have been hesitant to pursue in the past. Once more managers and their companies understand that big data needs to be used to drive business decisions, they’ll soon see the advantages it gives them over their competitors.

As companies get ready to deal with big data, they’ll also need the technologies and equipment for it. Finding the right tools for the job requires proper research and finding the right solution to meet the demands of the business. Big data affects many things with a company, so managers need to find the right storage systems, analytics tools, and data center capabilities. Some of these decisions may come down to using big data vendors or adopting virtualization software, but they’re all decisions that need to be analyzed and studied before full big data adoption can take place. This part of an effective game plan is particularly crucial since it requires a commitment of resources the business needs to have on hand.

At the same time, businesses need to have the right personnel available to handle all big data and analytics challenges. That requires an evaluation of each employee’s skillset to see if they are equipped to deal with these new concepts and technologies. For those that are lacking in big data expertise, managers should figure out what training is needed to give them the ability to work with big data. Companies should also plan a recruitment effort to hire new workers that can work as data specialists, lending quality skills to a business ready to dive into the big data pool.

It should be stressed that these are merely suggestions for how companies should prepare themselves to adopt big data practices. The internet is full of reserouces to help you understand what you need to do. There are virtualization training online courses you can take to brush up on your skills. As any good manager will tell you, a well-structured plan will be invaluable when making such a massive change. With a game plan in place, companies can avoid many of the headaches and growing pains that come with big data adoption.