When's the last time you heard anyone say: “Boy, I’m thankful for all of the petabytes of data that I have flowing into my business”?
This time of year we stop to say thanks for all of the things we have in our lives.
Business leaders should take this time to be thankful for the huge volumes of data that they are swimming in — not drowning in — during this age.
For the past 10 years, we’ve been creating more data than ever before. You have heard all the amazing analogies and references about how much data we have to work with today. This data opens new opportunities in the analytic world. How so? Just think about how limited data warehouses were at the turn of the millennium. This limited data colored our analysis in ways that we could not foresee.
Let's look at some of the infinite reasons for why we ought to be thankful for all of our data and some ideas for what to do with all that data.
Volume, Velocity, Variety, Veracity (VVVV): The Engine for Change
The new unstructured data age can seem a bit daunting.
However, the way we can better handle this data is to realize that the vast majority of the data doesn’t need to be stored or evaluated. Rather, look for the exceptional data and identify the patterns that match, the trends that repeat and the unexpected signals.
The VVVV age of data means we can see all of the data, but leverage only the “cool” data.
At the same time, the data forms a fabric that blankets your business. This tapestry describes the daily ongoings of your organization. As data and business experts, when the organization can deliver this fabric of data, then experts can shape and tease out amazing analytics and insights. This can only be happen when we have “enough” data to fuel this analytic creativity.
Once you have enough data, put the data to work for you with the following:
Create the Storage Solution That's Right For You
I’ve seen clients create hybrid solutions to store all the data that is interesting to their business. Some clients create data lakes, some build data marts and some go down the data warehousing path.
Did I mention that all these clients sit in the same business?
Hybrid solutions benefit the business by being agile, scalable and cost effective. Instead of investing in a monolith system for all things, choose the systems that best address the needs of the business.
Don’t feel like you have to do it a certain way. Business is best served storing the data based on the use cases, so start by finding out what your stakeholders want the data for, and then select the right storage method. Instead of focusing on standardizing storage strategies, focus on building out the systems that will be used to deliver data to fuel the use cases and their solutions.
Explore Your Analysis Options
Data analysis and insights are the secret sauce to business success.
Yet the task of buying the right technology to fit your business can seem daunting. When you know what problem you need to solve, buying the right technology seems a lot more straightforward.
Maybe it's a data preparation tool that helps your analyst combine all of this data. Perhaps it’s a visualization platform that you purchase to deliver beautiful reports and dashboards to your executives.
Whatever you choose to buy, make sure that it supports a robust platform that will evolve with you and the rapidly changing marketplace. Look for a blended solution that delivers the greatest amount of power while offloading those “wash, rinse, repeat” tasks to the packaged solutions.
Analysis Means Little Without Collaboration
A clear means to share your data, analysis and visualization is paramount to successful implementations of big data. You cannot drive the business with insight if there is no easy way to share and modify. Remember, the most important part of the analysis journey is the collaboration that the stakeholders take ownership of.
All this data will inspire people to share what they have so that they can better work together with all the different use cases.
Collaboration is one part technology, and many parts culture. So when you are choosing what data to store and what to throw out, make sure that this process is collaborative and repetitive. That way people have a sense what data is available to support the use cases that are important to their functional operations.
Be thankful we have all this data, as it makes us all better. With it we can achieve smarter data management, more complete analysis, more accurate representations of the business and the ability to work together closely to share insights. All of this data powers the big data analytics journey.