In previous articles, we have discussed nurturing a data culture, big data best practices, and big data applications. The importance of big data in business, in social services, and in consumer lifestyle has never been more critical and urgent.
Still, taking on a big data initiative for the first time can be daunting. While thousands of companies have proven that investing time, money, and resources in big data will reap many happy returns, efforts will go to waste without a fitting big data strategy.
Challenges in enterprise data
Companies big and small are already handling thousands, if not millions, of data in their day-to-day transactions. You probably have, at the very least, a point of sale system, an accounting system, an inventory system, a website, and social media accounts. But they reside in different silos — they may be in data warehouses, worksheets, or even in an external drive. Without integration, you are not able to detect relationships between data points and are therefore not optimizing the use of the data you capture.
Moreover, data captured from different sources vary in quality. You may be more confident about the veracity of your ERP data but not about your website data. But if you are going to venture into pushing your products via e-commerce, every click, swipe, and add to cart can inform the success or failure of your online channels. Therefore, you cannot just put website data aside.
Then there’s dark data, which are data that you are able to capture but unable to tap for information. These could be video, voice, logs, clicks, or other data that may be too expensive to store and to process. Hence, they remain underutilized. It is said that more than half of the world’s data is dark.
Without a big data strategy, however, a typical data team will get caught up problematizing the day-to-day storage, management, and processing of continuously flowing data. But without properly addressing the above challenges with a sound plan. They may be simply treating symptoms rather than nurturing a healthy big data initiative for the enterprise.
If you are moving towards making big data central to your business, here are the first few data strategy components for you to consider:
01 Business goals
Going big data for its own sake is an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. Define how data can contribute to the overall business goals as well as how it can help achieve the KPIs of finance, marketing, sales, product, and other lines of business. Then you can be sure to have the funding and cooperation of the entire organization.
02 Data sources and processes
Housekeeping is a tedious component of any project, but it’s a step you cannot skip for your big data initiative. Make a comprehensive list of the following:
- Data sources
- Data assets
- Technology assets
- Skill sets
Assess if you are able to cover the business objectives you have determined. For example, if one of your goals is to increase the sales of low-performing stores, do you have the means to capture sales per store, product line, and SKU? What is your protocol for collecting, updating, and correcting information? Is the platform you are using able to scale as you grow?
03 Prioritize use cases
Start small, iterate often. What applies to Agile software development also applies here. What use case will result in the biggest positive impact on your business? What use case can give you a quick win with a small budget and lean resources? You will not wake up to a data-centered organization overnight — maybe not even in a few months. But you can choose the battles that will win you the war in the long run.
With knowledge of your business goals, an inventory of your assets, and priority use cases, now you can mastermind the entire big data roadmap.
What is your vision of a data-centered organization? What data architecture, technologies, and processes will you have? How empowered will your end users be? How fast will your data engineers innovate? Based on your current state, identify the gaps and calendar the projects that will get you to your vision.
You don’t have to do it alone!
Apart from the right applications, processes, and people, you also need the right partner to make your data vision a reality. Reach out to Stratpoint via the form below.
Source: Tech Target