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Big Data: A problem, not a solution

John Massey, Managing Director, Consulting, Leo Tech Services Pte Ltd | March 20, 2015
Embarking on a Big Data journey requires a measured and practical approach. John Massey of Leo Tech Services tells us how to do so.

Goal-setting
Many organisations make the mistake of looking at achieving vanity KPIs. Otherwise known as soft targets, these KPIs don't necessarily deliver additional revenue for the business. It is thus essential for goal-setting discussions to move from vague targets such as 'let's mine some big data', to actual specifics.

For example, 'we want to expose an emerging market for our product' or 'we want real-time indications of Y growth, when X is happening' - these are specific, smart, constrained ideas that can provide the organisation with a clearer direction. Without this, costs may mount rapidly as infrastructure and processes are being built to host a range of potential scenarios, rather than focusing on the core and delivering quick value.

Prioritise goals
With any project, do not try and bite off more than what you can deliver. Assess the objectives and prioritise which are most important for the business, and look to deliver these in the short term.A project of such scale is definitely a journey, so do not expect to deliver on everything as that takes time. Instead, look to achieve at least part of the project quickly, as the ability to demonstrate usability and results will ultimately aid in getting better buy-in from stakeholders as well.

Test and refine
Organisations should always ensure that they have a feedback loop from all departments. Apart frombreaking down defensive walls, this also facilitates the incorporation of new ideas to improve usability now that the project is up and running. As such,it effectively opens the door for the second stage of the collaboration.

Staying relevant 
A common pitfall is the inability to adapt quickly and responsively in times of change. How often have we invested in that killer dashboard and been all prepared to roll it out to the enterprise, only to find that it has already become yesterday's news? The market is constantly shifting, and organisations need to have access to the right expertise and adaptive technology in order to choose well and move with the tide.

Embarking on a Big Data journey requires a measured and practical approach. Firstly, organisations should choose tools that allow them to take quick steps, make mistakes, refocus and move on - that way, learning comes faster. Then, involve the right people and work together to set a single specific goal, implement it, and continue adapting along the way.

Ultimately, it isn't the sheer volume of data that matters most. The true solution to Big Data lies in transforming it into what is known as 'Smart Data', and harnessing this to achieve greater outcomes for the business. 

 

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