Missing Wood for Trees, Why Big Data Isn’t About the Big Data

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Big Data is a hot topic of discussion these days and is on top of “To Do” list of senior executives of large and medium sized companies, many of whom have started investing in required infrastructure for leveraging Big Data.

While this is a good start, it is important to remember that Big Data isn’t about the Big Data. Yes, you read that correctly – Big Data isn’t about the Big Data, rather it is all about making better business decisions using the insights gained from analyzing structured and unstructured data that is available. If one focuses solely on “Big Data” and forgets the business context/how the data is going to be used, one is likely to miss wood for trees.

Instead of focusing on Big Data per se, how about starting with business problems that we are trying to solve, for example reducing customer defection/churn or improving cross-sell/upsell rates in CRM context or reducing inventory carrying costs in ERP context.

Once you have identified the problem to be solved, identify what structured and unstructured data are required for making better business decisions. This may include Social Media data for example besides ‘internal’ CRM data. Once you have identified the structured and unstructured data, internal and external to the organization, formulate a strategy on how the data is going to be used or analyzed and at what level of granularity. Only after this should one decide on what tools to use and make required investments in Big Data infrastructure and not other way around.

So don’t invest in Big Data infrastructure first not knowing what, why and how, and put cart before the horse. Rather identify a business problem to solve first, identify what structured and unstructured data are required for making better business decisions, develop a use case for Big Data, run a successful pilot project and then invest in required Big Data infrastructure.

What do you think? Do you agree that Big Data Isn’t About the Big Data, rather it is all about making better business decisions using the insights gained from analyzing structured and unstructured data? Look forward to hearing your thoughts and comments:

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Harish Kotadia, Ph.D.
Dr. Harish Kotadia has more than twelve years' work experience as a hands-on CRM Program and Project Manager implementing CRM and Analytics solutions for Fortune 500 clients in the US. He also has about five years' work experience as a Research Executive in Marketing Research and Consulting industry working for leading MR organizations. Dr. Harish currently lives in Dallas, Texas, USA and works as a Practice Leader, Data Analytics and Big Data at a US based Global Consulting Company. Views and opinion expressed in this blog are his own.

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