Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have heard (and perhaps grown tired) of the buzzword “big data.” But in attempts to chase the “next shiny thing”, companies may focus too much on “big data” rather than the “right data.”
True, “big data” is absolutely “a thing.” There are certainly companies successfully crunching massive volumes of data to reveal actionable consumer insight. But there are (many) more that are buried in data, and wondering why they are endlessly digging when others have struck gold.
Unfortunately, “big data” discussions often lead to:
An assumption that more is better;
A tendency for companies to try to skip the natural maturation of analytics in their organisation, in attempt to jump straight to “big data science.”
The value of data is in guiding business success, and that does not necessarily require massive volumes of data.
So when is big data of value?
When a company has pushed the limits of what they were doing with their existing data;
When they have the people, process, governance and infrastructure to collect and analyse volumes of data; and
When they have the resources and support to optimise based on that data.
But to succeed at a more foundational level, companies should focus first on whether they have:
A culture that fully integrates data and analytics into its planning and decision making;
The right data to guide their strategy and tactics. This includes:
- Data that reveals whether initiatives have been successful, addressing the specific goals of the work;
- Data that provides insight into progress, including early indicators of the need to “course correct”; and
- Data that identifies new opportunities.
The resources and support to optimise based on findings from current data
While all businesses should be preparing for increased use and volume of data in the coming years, it is far easier to chase and hoard more and more and more data than it is to derive value from the data that already exists. However, the latter will drive far greater business value in the long term, and set up the right foundation to grow into using big data effectively.