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Data Science and Deep Learning With Containerization Software
October 17, 2018
Using a Big Data Platform to Unlock the Potential of Cloud Object Storage
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The Importance of Dynamic Big Data Planning

Big data planning is crucial to your digital success. Your data strategy shouldn’t be written once and then set in stone; instead, it must evolve on a regular basis, so your business can use information to create a competitive advantage.

Understanding the Importance of a Dynamic Data Strategy

The world of technology is in constant evolution: new applications, services, and companies emerge all the time. While it’s great for your business to have data-led objectives, these aims are likely to become outdated quickly if your organization doesn’t regularly review big data planning in line with quickly changing market conditions.

Technology doesn’t work in isolation—it requires talented people to make it useful. In a digital age where information is so valuable, skilled data specialists will always be in high demand. If your talent moves, you can’t be left with a capability gap. To avoid this, you must have succession plans to ensure business continuity in your data strategy.

While most transformation programs last between three and five years, the fast pace of digital change means the technology environment will change radically across that time frame. Think about how data technologies have already changed: five years ago, the focus might have been solely on Hadoop; today, digital leaders are also concentrating on the cloud.

In another five years, digital leaders will be focused on other areas, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, or blockchain. Further in the future, those technologies will be supplanted by new, not-yet-known innovations. In order to keep up, you must constantly assess your big data strategy to ensure that your approach works at a cost that’s right for your business.

Creating a Big Data Strategy

Most executives will undertake a big data project for a specific function or domain within the business. That project will require an ability to assemble information from a disparate range of sources. Keeping a tight grip on those sources and the business’s requirements is a tough challenge, especially in an era of constant change, says researcher Forrester. Concentrating on three key factors should help:

  • Delivery: While line-of-business executives might require new directions on a project, changes cost time and money. If the initial scope is extended due to new requirements, deadlines will slip, increasing the likelihood of delays and increased costs. Stay focused on delivering a production-level initiative, with governance and security prioritized to ensure enterprise readiness.
  • ROI: Return on investment is a subjective measure that is often centered on project funding. Resources are limited, and an initiative with a high ROI is likely to receive backing. Still, financial returns are not the only consideration. Your business success in a digital age is directly related to customer experience. You must ensure the calculation for your data project is based on a return that demonstrates how the project meets your customers’ strategic priorities.
  • Ecosystem: The world is moving toward an ecosystem approach, where businesses draw on a range of partners to meet their strategic data objectives. Organizations that control their ecosystem of partners will secure a competitive advantage. Taking an open approach will ensure you can bring in new vendors when the time is right. A community-led stance will allow your business to remain productive and to grow.

Reassessing a Big Data Strategy

Finding the right factors to assess is just part of the problem. Senior executives must also ensure that these factors are measured correctly. Analyst Gartner says many companies struggle to assess the value and quality of their data strategies. Digital leaders who want to continuously evaluate their strategy must focus on the same three areas. Here’s how:

  • Delivery: Constantly assessing and evaluating projects is a complex challenge, especially when those projects cross organizational boundaries. You must create a broad stakeholder-led approach to measurement, where all parties work toward a joint objective. While it can be difficult to find commercial people with technology expertise and vice versa, your business must strive for that blend. Once you have achieved it, your business will be able to quantify data projects internally, rather than relying on external consultants.
  • ROI: Customer demands will change more quickly than your budget. Tightly defined budgets might mean project benefits are associated with one team. Yet, as noted above, many big data projects cross organizational functions. Great results often come from a combination of people and projects. Your organization will not have unlimited resources, so you must understand in fine detail how each project creates benefits in multiple ways.
  • Ecosystem: Your ecosystem might include hundreds of different projects at varying levels of implementation and ROI. Businesses often focus on how a specific project is delivering key measures, such as growing an audience and supporting that growth. Your data strategy, however, should not just focus on short-term goals. A partnership approach means returns will come at different times and in various ways. Successful companies will take a long-term view and focus on customer satisfaction, not just profitability.

Building a Strategy for Success

As the revenue-enablers of technology in the business, CIOs must create a strategy that helps their business combine the power of data, innovation, and cultural change. But continuous assessment of this strategy is just as important as its creation. Regular evaluation of the organization’s big data strategy helps to keep teams agile and encourages them to communicate short-term wins and long-term progress, making it easier to quantify ROI, especially across organizational lines. Those who succeed at big data planning will help their firms make better decisions and create a competitive advantage in an era of constant transformation.

Learn more about how to navigate your business’s big data journey.

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