Big data is a big deal, transforming the way organizations understand their customers, their operations, their forecasting, and so much more. McKinsey Global Institute claims it is “the next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity.”

Big-Data-ProjectThis would explain why 85% of a recent NewVantage Partners study shows their respondents have big data projects already underway. There is real value in doing this, despite the upfront costs to get it going.

More and more organizations want to recognize the benefits of their already engaged peers, so many are attempting to start big data initiatives within their organization. However, it goes without saying where many have tried many have also failed.

As a result, Aberdeen Research produced “Data Management for BI: Getting Accurate Decisions from Big Data”, surveying 125 organizations seeing what they were learning and how they were handling their big data programs. Here are a few ways they determined should enable you to get the most out of your big data initiative:

  • It’s a broken record, but it still rings true: culture eats strategy for breakfast. So make sure your culture supports your new data driven business. How do you do this? By leading from the top down and creating a quality data set. Set parameters on how data is input into the warehouse. This is a key to success for not only trying to find accurate insights, but also for your employees to trust the decisions made based off the data.
  • One of the most difficult things you’ll have to do is find and develop talent for the big data jobs you’ll need to fill. Unfortunately there is a serious gap in talent; so, many companies are looking to their internal employees first. Other big companies are working together with colleges and universities to work on developing the next generation to address the growing demand. Or, try hiring someone with a majority of the competencies and train them to completion. Determine which path you’d like to go down, set a strategy, and go for it.
  • Self-Service BI for everyone. If all goes well, your employees and colleagues are going to be very self-reliant for their data discovery needs. They will want an easy way to access and visualize the data, most likely on a dashboard, viewable on a mobile device. Make it easy for them to do this. Not only will it take pressure off your IT department, it’ll help drive the culture point home even more.
  • Invest in quality and high-speed infrastructure (Here’s a Data Warehouse Buyer’s Guide, note registration required). It may be listed last here, but this is truly your first task to accomplish before anything else. It will make all the difference. It won’t matter if you hiring the best talent, or spend a boatload training your internal employees, if they can’t put to practice what they’ve learned working with a slow infrastructure it will negatively impact both your project and your culture.

Did I forget anything you think would help a big data project be successful? Let me know by commenting on this article, or contacting me on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.

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