Big data is one of the most important parts of business intelligence, or BI, context. The move toward intelligent corporate use of massive amounts of data, both from within the company and without, is an embracing of management through knowledge and analysis.
The Economist’s Intelligence Unit created a report about the evolution of big data. A survey of 550 senior executives and a series of in-depth interviews help show some of the directions companies are taking. The more you understand about what business people intend, the better you can steer your career.
Data becomes a strategic asset
Companies are interested in managing, identifying, and analyzing their data, particularly the portions that seem to be of the highest value. What is going out of favor is using data for its own sake and hoping that something useful comes of it. The initial rush and excitement of new tools and even toys have given way to a need for disciplined use of a resource.
Follow the money
The researchers found a strong correlation between the smart and strategic use of data and the strength of a company’s financial performance. If a company isn’t doing well compared to its competitors, chance are good that its approach to big data also leaves something to be desired. (And because this is a correlation, not causation, it isn’t clear whether better data management leads to financial success, if the relationship runs the other way, or if there is another factor that influences these two.)
Data strategy receives real attention
At one time, data strategy might have been some obscure aspect of IT. No longer. Data strategy has moved into a top management concern, usually for the CIO or CTO, but sometimes with a dedicated chief data officer. In addition, business line managers increasingly have control over their data initiatives rather than ceding them to IT.
Data is now about real problems
Managers no longer are interested in the theory of what big data can do for a company. Instead they lead with business goals and values, deciding which business problems are most in need, and then turning to how the data the company has could be employed to help address these issues. That means while the technology itself is obviously important, because without it big data doesn’t work, the emphasis has to be on utility and how any project will address a strategic company goal. First and foremost in any program will be the business value it can deliver.
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