How You Should Explain Big Data to Your CEO [SlideShare]

December 10, 2015
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ImageWith big data now playing a big role in the business world, it stands to reason that many companies are considering ways of integrating it into their strategies. CEOs should of course be the ones spearheading the effort, and in such cases, implementation of big data analytics is generally quick and smooth. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

ImageWith big data now playing a big role in the business world, it stands to reason that many companies are considering ways of integrating it into their strategies. CEOs should of course be the ones spearheading the effort, and in such cases, implementation of big data analytics is generally quick and smooth. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Many times, CEOs have been reluctant to adopt big data solutions, thinking it not worth the company’s time and effort, or at least believing that such solutions don’t fit well with their respective industries. Others may think big data is a beneficial thing but have little idea about what it is and even less understanding of how it works. Perhaps your CEO falls into one of these categories. Then it’s up to you to explain big data to him or her, which isn’t always the easiest task.

For many CEOs, their desires are in the right place when it comes to big data. Many want their businesses to be data-driven organizations, but they’ll admit that they’re not sure how to bring this about. That means you’ll have to find a way to communicate to your CEO what big data can bring to the business. One helpful way is to describe big data not through technological terms but rather as a valuable asset to the company. This is one point that many CEOs fail to accurately comprehend. Companies that are able to gather, store, and analyze information about their customers now have a tremendous resource that they didn’t have before. CEOs need to understand how valuable this is, even if it doesn’t show up directly as a line item on a budget. Effective communicators may even suggest accounting for data the organization collects on a balance sheet, putting big data in a different light.

Of course, big data is often gathered in a messy, unstructured form. For CEOs that may have trouble understanding everything that big data entails, it will be up to you to take all that data, organize it, clean it up, and present it plainly. This is not always the easiest thing to do since it usually requires plenty of resources and time, but the end result should be persuasive and easy to grasp no matter whom you’re talking to. To help in this endeavor, you’ll also need to ensure you have a qualified and skilled data team on board. That means hiring some of the best minds on the subject or at the least borrowing them for a time. Getting good data scientists requires a thorough hiring process, one that is made all the more difficult by the increased demand for them among nearly every industry out there.

It’s possible that your CEO may not be interested in the gritty details of big data, only in how it benefits the company overall. If that should be the case, you’ll need to come armed with specific details on how big data analytics brings advantages to your organization. That will largely depend on what type of business you are and what your company’s goals are, but the benefits may include things like getting to know your customers better, discovering better insights, predicting future business trends, understanding how your competition operates, and improving your business’s efficiency. Big data presented in such a manner will likely go a long way toward helping your CEO appreciate its value.

Even knowing all this, some CEOs may feel intimidated at the prospect of using big data. Luckily, you can talk to them about the numerous big data vendors out there, companies that provide big data solutions and services that can save businesses on spending resources and time trying to get their own complex infrastructure up and running. Your CEO should consider the possibility of using big data just like any other cloud service, giving your business added versatility and greater capabilities.

It has become clear that big data is a valuable element that many businesses need to adopt to remain competitive and be successful into the future. CEOs should understand why, but you might have to explain to them how big data works just to make sure. By tying big data to overall business strategies and objectives, you’ll be able to effectively communicate what role analytics can play, creating an organization capable of handling the challenges of the coming years.