Big Data Doesn't Need to be Complicated

The business world has undergone significant transformations during the past several years, especially as mobile, social, and cloud computing technologies emerged and introduced monumental changes for decision-makers who were willing enough to take a chance with these options. As these solutions gained momentum, organizations found themselves with access to much larger volumes of information. By converting this data into meaningful insight, companies would be able to optimize performance and even gain competitive advantages.

This realization brought about the dawn of the Big Data movement -- an idea that has been accelerating ever since its inception. For the most part, executives who actively sought Big Data expected to experience quick turnaround, allowing employees to react to customer situations in real time. Unfortunately, this speed is not as prevalent as many firms initially thought. This finding was highlighted in a recent Attivio survey, which found that 52 percent of businesses have been waiting more than 12 months to see a positive return on investment.

Specifically, 32 percent of organizations have been expecting results for longer than 18 months, and only 3 percent of companies have seen a quick turnaround, Attivio reported. This vast difference suggests that there is a major gap between perception and reality when it comes to Big Data.

"It is incomprehensible that Big Data, or any technology initiative for that matter, would take two years to return value on a company's investment when it can, and should, happen within the first 90 days," said Ali Riaz, CEO of Attivio. "One of the reasons for this slow time to value is that traditional approaches to Big Data segregate information in disconnected silos and require costly, time-consuming and inflexible data modeling in order to integrate them."

The study found that roughly 55 percent of companies said combining multiple sets of diverse data requires a large team of scientists. Despite organizing this group, however, companies still face challenges with Big Data.

Overcoming Big Data mountains
Attivio revealed that approximately half of businesses said they believe in their Big Data endeavors, relating the projects to Harry Potter in the sense that the initiatives are filled with potential but often face major challenges that must be conquered. One of the problems is that the workforce is not entirely familiar with Big Data because 16 percent of decision-makers said their programs are generally misunderstood.

Although other firms said they encounter obstacles when trying to round up various information sets and decipher the truth from those resources, many organizations are happy with their projects. This finding suggests that the majority of the business world simply needs to develop better Big Data strategies because doing so will bring the benefits of those initiatives to light.

InfoWorld highlighted the importance of prioritizing Big Data programs and getting the whole workforce involved because simply idolizing the "Big Data" buzzword will not yield any positive results. Meanwhile, executives need to develop robust information governance plans to keep an eye on all their digital resources, given that losing sight of or misusing assets can result in substantial unforeseen complications.

Finally, InfoWorld noted that emphasizing collaboration and the importance of maintaining accuracy will be critical to avoiding common pitfalls associated with Big Data. Rather than jumping the gun and deploying an initiative without any planning, decision-makers should take the time to assess their internal needs and capabilities to understand how they can build a functional program that will deliver all the advantages companies are seeking.

Big Data endeavors don't need to be wrought with challenges. With the proper foresight and planning, executives can optimize projects to experience maximum return in a timely manner.

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