By Michele Nemschoff, MapR Technologies
Big Data can be extremely valuable for any business, and most businesses recognize this. In fact, a survey completed by the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) found that three out of four respondents believe data is one of the greatest assets for their company. Unfortunately, extracting value from data is difficult for many organizations and failing to have a good structure in place for business analysis can result in much wasted time and resources.
Common problems executives run into, according to the CompTIA study, include:
- Wasting time dealing with poorly managed projects
- Confusion within the company over priorities
- Inefficient decision making and lack of agility in making decisions
- Lack of ability to assess staff performance effectively
- Operational inefficiencies that lead to lost sales and reduced profit margins
No business wants to run into these issues, so it is important to lay the proper groundwork for managing and using your data. Having a plan for how data analysis projects will be completed in order to make them as effective and efficient as possible is a necessity.
To make sure you will get the full value out of your data, remember these three key tips:
Get Data Under Control
According to the CompTIA survey, only 31 percent of businesses were able to provide a comprehensive single customer view, which makes sense when you consider that eight out of 10 businesses had moderate to high degrees of data silos. Two-thirds of businesses also had some degree of shadow data repositories, such as lists kept by individual employees that the business is unaware of or doesn’t have access to. Without a clear picture of what data is available, wasted time and resources on data analysis is a given.
To address these issues, get the data documented and stored in one location. Start by performing a data audit in which you determine all the types of data collected, how the data sets are connected and how each data set is stored and maintained.
Businesses where silos used to be necessary to accommodate huge volumes of data can now look to solutions like MapR Technologies' Hadoop distribution, which can be used as an enterprise data hub and eliminate the need to silo data into different databases because of performance limitations or cost or storage considerations.
Identify Critical Business Decisions
Rather than getting overwhelmed by trying to incorporate data analysis into every part of the company at once, start small by identifying a few critical business questions that you can seek to answer. Keep the initial projects small, so you can start getting wins immediately and form processes and policies based on how well the project goes. The first couple of wins can also help provide additional funding for more in-depth projects.
Combine Analytics with Operational Processes
In order to get value out of their data, many businesses require a change in culture, and to do this, they need to incorporate data analytics into actual business processes. This way the new processes will be supported by the old ones, and employees will be more apt to use these data-driven new insights rather than dismiss them or make decisions based on their own beliefs or assumptions.
By taking these steps, businesses can avoid the negative consequences of using data poorly and truly start to extract value from the data they have.
Michele Nemschoff is vice president of Corporate Marketing with MapR Technologies, a company that brings dependability, ease-of-use and speed to Hadoop, NoSQL, database and streaming applications in a unified Big Data platform.