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4 barriers stand between you and Big Data insight

Thor Olavsrud | April 10, 2013
A majority of organizations believe that big data can give them a competitive advantage, but nearly 60 percent also believe that moving from data to insight is a major challenge. Consulting firm PwC says four barriers stand between your operation and data insights.

"The business person needs to understand more about data analytics, visualization, all of that," adds Rao. "You need someone who understands the business, can translate the business from a problem into a solution. They have to understand enough about analytics to know that this type of problem requires that type of solution or analytics technique. If you can't find a single person, a team approach could work."

Struggling With Insufficient Systems to Rapidly Process Information

The fourth big data barrier is existing systems. Rao and Halter note that big data demands increased computing power to rapidly gather, store and analyze massive volumes of data. But many organizations doubt their ability to do so with their current systems. Forty-one percent of respondents in the Americas, 33 percent of respondents in Europe and 49 percent of respondents in Asia-Pacific said their systems can't process large volumes of data from different sources. Even top performers mostly aligned with the pack with regard to confidence in their processing power.

But Rao and Halter say they believe that organizations often struggle with this issue because they're looking at the entirety of the data available to them rather than focusing on a particular problem.

"When companies don't have a hypothesis or problem in hand that they want to solve, that's when they a big data overload," Rao says. "There's all this information out there and they don't know what to do with it. If you approach it from a perspective of a particular problem like, 'I'm trying to grow a market with this specific segment,' it becomes much clearer. Most organizations are just overwhelmed with all the information available rather than focusing just on the problem that has to be solved."

That's also the best way to get a rapid return on investment to a big data problem, Rao says.

"The best way to get your ROI is to home in on a couple of key questions," he says. "Get a group of people solely focused on that."

Halter adds that there is one thing that the companies most successful in leveraging big data have in common.

"The companies that achieve success, there's one thing that unites them," he says. "All of them out there ahead of the curve have a very senior executive that for whatever reason saw the potential early and just rammed it through the organization."

"I think big data is becoming more and more an umbrella message," he adds. "It's not just big data, it's data everywhere. It's how do you use data big and small to get ahead of the curve. There's no way out of it. It's not just large files and Hadoop; it's really about changing your culture to a more analytical culture."

 

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