Six Ways To Use Big Data /

4 Jul , 2015  

Last month I was lucky enough to get interviewed by Lisa Morgan writing an article on How To Use Data To Outsmart Your Competitors.

I would like to thank Lisa for the great article in general and for featuring me in particular. For all of you interested in data and Big Data projects the article is basically a must-read! It discusses six ways companies can use data to get the ever necessary advantage over their competitors. The following paragraphs are a quick summary on the article with my opinions on it. It can also be read as a process for implementing Big Data in enterprises.

Understand What Data Assets You Have: This is key in any Big Data project. Without a clear understanding which (IT) systems your enterprise runs and what kind of data they generate it is almost impossible to run any data project.

Share the Data: Knowing what data assets are available is fine but they also need to be accessible. Assuming your company can launch a Big Data initiative by just creating a Data Lake and 1-2 dashboards which are accessible only by a limited number of staff is a big mistake. If inspiration strikes teams need to be enabled to verify their hypothesis on the spot. It needs to be easy. On the other hand I am well aware that certain data regulations are in the contrary to this step.

Ponder A New Use Of The Data: Inspiration is also a uncontrollable beast in some scenarios it will just not strike. After creating Data Lakes and sharing the data one also needs to reserve time and resources to actually look into the data and brainstorm what kind of information is hidden in the data. As for now this will require humans sifting through the data, visualising what seems worth visualising, formalising hypothesis and then trying to verify those in the data. In the near future I see artificial intelligence being able to help us on some of these tasks.

Foster Collaboration: One of the key things my Institute is actually preaching. Collaboration is one of the most important keys to success. Interdisciplinary analysis of datasets will give you the best results.

Encourage Experimentation, Brainstorming: Successful startups and tech gigants have a common mantra “Fail Fast”. Encourage all your staff to experiment with the data, make them reserve time in meetings to brainstorm about data. If any ideas come up strive to create demos as quick as possible. Do not hesitate to kill any ideas that fail. If they are failing ideas make sure that they fail fast. Create an atmosphere for experimentation, and research; never blaming anyone if data-ideas fail, they were just ideas.

Keep The End Goal In Mind: In many enterprises right now data projects have a to broad scope. A title like “analyze data” is not a graspable goal all staff can commit to. Your goals need to be more concrete and you need to stick to the goals. Once people get hooked on data analysis distraction becomes very likely. “Oh look at this piece of data; I could also try to verify XY!”.

I believe by the willingness to take the chances lying in Big Data and by following some of the advice given above and in Lisas excellent article you can make a big difference in your business.

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