Big Data Is A Double-Edged Sword

Companies have never been more empowered to track anything and everything. The problem?

Organizations frequently find themselves buried under a big data avalanche. And the problem is only going to get worse.

Gartner predicts that one-third of Fortune 100 companies will experience an information management crisis by 2017, due to the fact that many U.S. companies can’t “effectively value, govern and trust their enterprise information.”

The challenge that companies face is that they lack a clear data strategy. In the interim, they’re monitoring everything. What ends up happening, however, is information overload.

For years, this approach worked — data wasn’t a critical business function. But today, IT has become a cornerstone of the most critical c-suite discussions, and data is at the center of the most critical business operations. Push has come to shove, and organizations need a data strategy now.

Organizations can avoid their “data doomsday” by concentrating on the following core areas:

1. CYBER SECURITY

In its most recent State of Cybercrime Report, EMC observed that cyber criminals will leverage big data principles to increase the effectiveness of attacks.

Malware developers have created solutions that extract pertinent data from organizations. You heard right: they’re using big data analytics for evil.

Without the right protection mechanisms, a business’s big data strategy could easily become a liability. It is absolutely crucial to make sure that all channels remain protected. Big data should not mean vulnerable data.

2. STORYTELLING

The most effective big data strategies are actionable. Organizations need more than disparate metrics, however, to drive margin.

That’s where storytelling comes in. Look for dimensions, hooks, and angles that demonstrate trends. What have been your changes over time, for instance? What variables are driving those changes? What are your organization’s most pressing opportunity costs?

Storytelling begins with a specific research question or business challenge. The more cohesive your research framework, the more actionable your data strategy will be.

3. TEAM BUILDING

It’s common for creative and analytical teams to feel like they’re speaking different languages. Engineers and art directors may feel like they have very little in common — but there is one thread that connects these separate business arms. It’s data.

In addition to harnessing big data, organizations need to focus on building a data-driven culture. Every single team needs to speak in the same language to rely on the same metrics and systems.

This process requires an investment in education, change management, and culture. You need to build your data-driven culture from the inside out.

FINAL THOUGHTS: FOCUS ON IMPACT

The success of an organization’s data strategy depends on the ability to drive action. Focus on aligning bottom-line metrics to top-line goals. Predictive analytics, algorithms, and data centers will be the ropes that connect these core objectives together. Your company’s data strategy should be developed cross-functionally — from the perspectives of multiple teams.

By driving impact, your “data doomsday” will look a lot more like Y2K, comparatively.

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