What is the Big Data Gold Rush All About?

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An article by Consulting Magazine, “Big Data’s Gold Rush,” examines the massive potential opportunity for both consulting firms and clients related to Big Data. But what does the Big Data opportunity really mean? What are the real obstacles for your firm? How should you approach the Big Data problem?

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE OPORTUNITY

Many of the article’s contributors, senior partners, and principals with traditional strategy and management consulting firms (e.g., Deloitte, PwC, and others) jump to the importance of the analytic uses of Big Data and building analytic solution-creation capabilities within companies. While this will become an important aspect of the life cycle of Big Data capability development, we at Sagence believe that the opportunity to move the needle with Big Data is more elemental. It starts with addressing the 80% problem that we defined in our earlier blog, “Getting Big Impact from Big Data,” which is the fact that 80% of companies’ data scientists spend the majority of their time preparing for data analysis. And this is true for small data sets. So if the majority of clients today are struggling with grasping “little” data, how can we expect them to be ready for Big Data?

OBSTACLES FOR CLIENTS

As we stated in our previous blog, there are many challenges contributing to the 80% problem with which many, if not all, of our clients are struggling. It ultimately comes down to organization and management of data assets. However, to be clear and empathetic, client organizations are challenged to manage data within their four walls unlike ever before. Shifting demands on business executives are creating new needs and uses for data (i.e., new channels – social media, mobile, IoT; new uses – customer instrumentation and behavior analysis; new reporting – real-time operational reporting) and new possible sources of data that must be integrated. At the same time, IT organizations are being continuously squeezed and pressured to reduce the cost of service and delivery and to embrace new agile approaches. This strain continues to exacerbate the growing divide between IT and business. Increasing demands for the efficient, high-quality delivery of data only serves to further widen the gap. Legacy models for managing IT and business to support data are no longer working.

APPROACHING THE BIG DATA PROBLEM

The approach that will be most effective for clients hoping to take advantage of Big Data is one that will help them address the fundamental aspect and new capabilities of managing data assets and creating the organization, tools, and processes that will support emerging business needs. Establishing these strategic and operational data capabilities will require assessing, measuring, and improving upon some critical disciplines that must be in place to effectively and efficiently take advantage of the data. These seven Big Data disciplines include:

  1. Data Management Operating Model
  2. Connected Metadata
  3. Master Data Origination
  4. Data Acquisition Technology
  5. Modern Business Intelligence Platform
  6. Semantic Modeling
  7. Enterprise Data Architecture

In conclusion, we agree that there is a great potential opportunity in Big Data. However, we believe that helping clients capture the tremendous upside associated with business benefits of Big Data begins with helping them establish the fundamental data and emerging organizational capabilities required to succeed in the Big Data world and make the most out of your analytics investments.

Contributed by Kevin Henderson.

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Sagence is a management consulting firm advising clients in information-intensive industries. We specialize in data management and analytics and in the acquisition, evaluation, and development of critical data assets. Contact us today to learn how we can help you leverage your data as an asset.