Let’s play the Big Data word association game.
Every day we hear about the incredible insights that big data can deliver, but with recent reports on the skills shortages of data scientist, big data projects not realising returns and Gartner proposing that companies will be measured on the algorithms they develop … is it worth re-visiting our approach?
A friend of mine in China who started his own successful analytics company once told me, “It’s not how big the data is, it’s whether you can extract value”. The reality is business insight comes from a team of people and not all require a data scientist on day one (if at all). Check out the recent Forbes article on this point "Big Data, Little Data. What Do you really need?"
“It’s not how big the data is, it’s whether you can extract value”
So where do you start? One way is to launch an initiative to develop an analytics culture and create a virtual Business Analytics Team. This will provide the focal point and governance where business problems can be submitted and evaluated. You may end up with multiple virtual teams tackling different problems but the core team may consist of;
- A Data Engineer – you probably have someone in your organisation who has this knowledge today who knows the data sources and/or is responsible for data management
- Subject Matter Expert(s) – someone who can articulate the business problems and also knows what question to ask
- A Data Analysts (or business analyst)
- A Project Manager
- A Data Scientist (optional) who can build the algorithms if required
Of course, you will need technology, but the single most important thing here is don’t overthink it – keep it simple, manageable and integrated!!
Gaining business insight starts with defining the business problem and/or leveraging known use cases or Blueprints – what are we trying to solve? Then one of the first questions to ask is “Can Analytics help?”
“Can Analytics help?”
When it comes to Analytics our philosophy at Hitachi Data Systems is: “Any Analytics, Any Data, Simplified.” We use and offer Pentaho (a Hitachi Group Company) to provide a single integrated software platform to blend, analyse, visualise, explore, report and predict on any data – we keep it simple!
And should you require a high performance analytics appliance that simplifies the compute, data management and analytics functions, our Scaleout Platform (HSP) with Pentaho Data Integration provides rapid deployment of an integrated big data platform – a one stop shop!
The Big Data landscape appears incredibly complex, but remember, don’t overthink it…Keep it Simple and focus back on the business problem. As Steve Jobs said: “Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.”
With an Analytics team in place to evaluate business problems in combination with a simple integrated analytics platform, let’s play our word association game again.
We now have a repeatable process that can be reduced to:
So don’t be concerned about skills shortages or failures – make a start now by developing an analytics culture, keep it simple at first and build upon your success as skills become more widely available. If you need help on this journey or need to simplify your existing analytics platforms for greater ROI, then Get in touch with me.
Finally, Share how your company is structured to leverage analytics or Big Data initiatives. What do you think about building an analytics culture, or implementing business analytics teams? How are you leveraging data scientists within the business? Here is one example of deploying Data Scientist in operational roles. I look forward to your thoughts on practical implementations that have overcome Big Data disillusionment.