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Get Ready for the Datapocalypse

2014-28-August-Maskatron.jpgToday’s data is bigger, stronger and faster. The increasing complexity of data is pushing organizations toward a tipping point — those that harness its value will excel, those that don’t will fall behind.

But becoming a data-driven organization is no longer just a smart way to build a competitive advantage — it's a necessity to survive the pending Datapocalypse. As everything from fridges and thermostats to cars and factories produce more and more data, organizations need to be able to quickly analyze and act on it or risk catastrophic damage.

Financial institutions that can’t analyze data fast enough to detect online fraud jeopardize customer privacy and loyalty. Oil companies that fail to acknowledge near real-time sensor data indicating dangerous pressure levels risk environmental disasters and health care organizations that can’t access a holistic view of health data will fail to effectively diagnose and treat patients.

Preparing for the Datapocalypse requires more than incremental shifts in how fast and effectively data is managed, analyze and put to use. It requires a fundamental change that infuses data into the core of operations. To prep your organization to withstand the final fate of the Datapocalypse, here are three precautions to take:

1. Arm Yourself with the Right Tools

The more data you have, the deeper and broader your insights will be. To make the best data-driven decisions, organizations need tools that can manage and analyze all of their data. More and more devices are radiating data, and traditional infrastructure can’t keep pace. As the need to incorporate varied types of data such as real-time sensor data, textual and non-textual data and transactional data grows, organizations are turning to Apache Hadoop to manage its complexity.

According to analyst firm Allied Market Research (AMR), the sales of Hadoop-related software, hardware and services is predicted to reach $50.2 billion by 2020. Armed with technologies like Hadoop and big data analytics applications, organizations can quickly gain accurate insights from their analytics.

2. Democratize Data

Data must be accessible to everyone. The more people that can understand and implement data-driven insights, the more successful an organization will be. Organizations must stop secluding data tools to a single department or job title and need to simplify analytics so every employee can use it to guide intelligent organizational decisions.

Once they are armed with big data insights, they need to be able to easily communicate them. This is where big data visualization comes into play. To visually communicate data insights, organizations need flexible tools that can cater to each use case. The most effective data visualizations move beyond static dashboards to create dynamic graphs, charts, diagrams, maps, tag clouds and more that automatically update to reflect the most recent data points.

3. Train Everyone to be Data Savvy

Just because employees have data analytic tools in their hands doesn’t mean that they’re using them to make smarter decisions. Investing in the right tools and sharing them with the entire organization are the first steps toward creating an organization that can withstand the onslaught of data. But to truly create a data-driven company, training is key.

According to an Economist Intelligence Unit survey, one in three respondents cite the importance of putting training programs in place to help employees become data literate. While the value of using data to manage mission-critical processes is clear to some, its importance must be clearly communicated to the entire team. By doing so, employees can make better decisions with less risk. Armed with the ability to analyze everything form historical data to sensory data, everyone in an organization can make smart decisions with a greater amount of confidence and speed.

Data catastrophe awaits those that don’t fundamentally change how they manage, analyze and use data. By investing in the right tools, increasing access to data analytics and implementing training programs organizations can use deeper and more accurate insights to improve outcomes. Taking these steps now ensures that that they have a strong foundation to overcome the Datapocalypse.

Title image by JD Hancock (Flickr) via a CC BY 2.0 license
 

About the Author

Stefan Groschupf is co-founder and CEO of Datameer, a provider of big-data analytics. A big-data veteran and serial entrepreneur with roots in the open-source community, Groschupf was one of the early contributors to Nutch, the open-source project that spun off Hadoop.

 
 
 
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