Lack of expertise is killing Big Data projects

We’ve all heard about the near limitless potential of Big Data. And if you haven’t been asked to head on up yet, it could be a matter of time until you are. 

The catch: Many companies are finding that once they collect all this valuable information, they don’t have the people in place to do anything with it.

Jumping in too soon

According to an SAP survey, nearly three-quarters of US and UK businesses report their staff don’t have the skills or ability to act on all the data they’re collecting.

That’s enough to doom a Big Data project from the get-go.

On the other hand, some companies are finding huge success with Big Data. So it’s not entirely hype.

So how can you be sure you’re falling on the right side of that equation? Here are three ideas to start you on the road to analytics success.

1. Start with the ‘Why’

Beginning with the end in mind is crucial. Excitable execs are going to see Big Data success stories and want to jump right in with projects of their own.

The key is to focus their efforts: What are the goals of a Big Data project? How will you measure success? Is the scope to examine one specific process or find improvements across a wide area?

Concrete answers are needed for these questions before you start down this road.

2. Look for the answer, not evidence

Big Data should be used to answer questions – not to reinforce conclusions that have already been made.

Some decision-makers err by using Big Data to prove what they already believe is true. When it does, the results confirm their suspicions. When it doesn’t, the results are dismissed as somehow inaccurate.

Companies that set out to use Big Data in their decision-making need to be prepared to put faith in the results — even if they challenge the status quo.

Otherwise it’s probably not worth the time and effort invested.

3. Have the right people

Success with Big Data will all come down to whether you have the right people in place to use it.

In some cases, that might mean having current staffers take on a new skill set. Other times, you may have to look outside your department for hiring help.

But until you have the people side of the equation down, it’s best to wait on the technical adoption.

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