The advent of big data has been accompanied by a rapid shift in corporate provisioning strategies, as organizations scramble to get their infrastructure and information governance capabilities in order and prepare for deployment. Advanced analytics can be tricky to get right, as many companies have already begun to see for themselves, and demands a more comprehensive handle on data science, information management and IT prowess to function properly following implementation.
Unfortunately, a confluence of factors has led many firms to try to navigate these strategies alone, even when they do not have the in-house knowledge to get the projects done correctly from start to finish, thus hindering returns on investments and frustrating decision-makers. Small-business owners certainly fall into this category, as they rarely have a robust IT department filled with experienced data scientists and are quick to pull the trigger on a purchase that promises to be useful for even non-technology professionals.
Simply put, this is a bunch of smoke and mirrors, as even when the technology itself can be used by individuals who have no foundation in IT, they will not function properly should poor information governance and IT management programs be involved. Managed services for everything from infrastructure optimization to data optimization can help to protect returns on analytics investments and ensure the most efficient overall experience among users and the business itself.
Before diving into some of the goings-on in the big data equation, check out this informative TED Talks video with Kenneth Cukier regarding the ways in which advanced analytics tools are driving performance across industries:
One thing is for sure, and that is businesses are going to continue pouring more money into analytics and big data in the coming years, with those that take the smartest approach to these deployments moving ahead in their respective marketplaces. Companies that drag their feet with these investments might run into issues by way of a competitive disadvantage, as optimal use can indeed help to bolster efficiency and productivity, reduce waste, and strengthen decision-making across the board.
More to come
Gartner recently released a report regarding the growing volume of investments and diversity of users that are now shaping the big data industry, affirming that complexities and obstacles will be widespread in the next two years. As a note, other researchers have found that while the majority of companies are already beginning to use big data, very few have been entirely satisfied with their experiences and returns following implementation, largely due to a lack of understanding.
Additionally, this theme has been consistent across a range of IT-related matters, with businesses taking a less modest and humble approach to deployments, believing that it will all work out in the end. Suffice it to say that this thinking will do little more than put the company at risk of significant disruption and security challenges, not to mention the prospect of seeing either low or no returns on their investments, hurting the bottom line.
According to Gartner, more than three-quarters of global firms are either already using big data or have plans to do so in the next two years, but many are facing significant problems with respect to staffing, general information management and measuring ROI.
"This year begins the shift of big data away from a topic unto itself, and toward standard practices," Gartner Research Director Nick Heudecker explained. "The topics that formerly defined big data, such as massive data volumes, disparate data sources and new technologies, are becoming familiar as big data solutions become mainstream. For example, among companies that have invested in big data technology, 70 percent are analyzing or planning to analyze location data, and 64 percent are analyzing or planning to analyze free-form text."
What's more, the analysts found that more of these initiatives are not being launched by chief information officers today, with other lines of business stepping up and getting the projects in motion for a more complex diversity of purposes and objectives. Looking ahead, decision-makers in small, medium and large organizations will need to get their proverbial houses in order, working to lay down a sound foundation to build analytics success atop.
Again, especially for entrepreneurs, the use of reliable managed IT services will likely be a necessity to get these projects right the first time around.
Why so serious?
Entrepreneurs might be wondering why so many of their peers are beginning to invest in big data, and those questions certainly come with a lot of value. Put most simply, the recession changed the game in the small business market, creating a landscape in which only the fastest and most agile entities will survive and thrive given the volatility and rapid fluctuations that have lingered since the financial crisis.
"The smartest companies tend to enjoy the strongest profits."
Additionally, the smartest companies will tend to enjoy the strongest profit margins, greatest defense against disruptions, and smoothest path toward more robust and modernized IT deployments. These types of catalysts are pushing advanced analytics and big data in government as well, where officials have begun to see the value of such intelligence programs for their core responsibilities and needs.
For example, InformationWeek recently reported that government agencies are increasingly leveraging big data solutions to handle crisis response matters more quickly and efficiently, affirming that these technologies can indeed work for a wide range of objectives. According to the news provider, the financial crisis itself was one of the clearest signs that intelligence was needed in the banking sector, as well as the regulatory entities that govern the industry.
Other departments are already beginning to leverage the tools to cut down on violent crimes, including those that target children. The source added that this will likely remain as a major theme in government and the private sector for years to come, with more decision-makers leveraging analytics to effectively improve their performances in virtually every area of operations.
With the help of the right managed service provider, small-business owners can begin to wield the power of big data and analytics without as much risk.