There are lots of people out there, who like me, believe that the big data party needs to stop and corporations need to get serious about big data with a bigger focus on ROI. Big data projects need to be held up to the same governance and be measured by the same criteria as other IT projects.
Just to be clear, I’m not bashing the technologies behind big data (both established and brand new) – I think they’re amazing. These technologies have been built to tackle the unique challenges that big data poses and can help organisations get more out of their big data today than ever before.
What I’ve been hearing from customers and prospects, especially in Europe and Asia where I travel most, is that they need help in firstly understanding what technologies are available today (they change and are added to so frequently that it’s a struggle to keep up), how they should be integrated and deployed (how can the “new” kids play with the “old”?) and ultimately help in providing the project management and delivery experience that many of their new “big data” teams are missing.
The importance of big data isn’t being called into question in many of these firms. In fact, many have great ideas on how big data can help open up new market opportunities. But the problem they face is how to move projects from their test and development environment to day-to-day operations.
You see, the problem is that brilliant though these big data technologies are, a lot of companies are struggling to make the tech work for them, in part because of a lack of professional direction but also a lack of experienced data management and technology practitioners!
Bigger is Better
Now’s not the time to beat a hasty retreat though. Big data is here to stay, whether companies can use it to their advantage or not. In fact, now’s the time to go even bigger.
How can companies be the next “Uber” – the innovator, the disrupting force – of their industry, regardless of whether that is manufacturing, oil and gas, utility, telco, government, retail or pharmaceuticals?
They need to be able to look at all of their data, all of the time, so that they can comprehensively understand the relationships and dependencies between complex processes, products, people, or price, in minutiae. And they need to be able to do all that in a timely manner, so that they can make their move before the competition does.
To do all this, companies have to think about the bigger picture – the need to integrate data and technologies on a massive scale, and at speed. That often means choosing proven, integrated, simplified, scalable and secure technology stacks that have been optimised for the business processes and data of each specific enterprise.
Smart businesses are beginning to demand the best of the new technologies be deployed alongside the best of what they already have certified and proven to work (all the time) at an enterprise level.
Please… Just Make it Work!
Ultimately, this big data tech talk is of no interest to business users and business managers. They want to be able to take volumes of detailed sensor data that is constantly refreshed and be able to distinguish what is significant and what is just noise. They want to understand how they can be more competitive, more productive, by building a holistic picture of their business, not just with big data but more traditional sources of data like product specifications, maintenance records, and cost and profit statements.
They want to be able to predict failures, eliminate downtime, lower the cost of maintenance and deliver better customer service which they can charge a premium for. They don’t care what the technology is – they just want it to work!! And as data management and analytics professional it is our duty to help them…
This post first appeared on Forbes TeradataVoice on 20/01/2016.