Big data involves people power

by Sohini Bagchi    Mar 25, 2013

big data people

Big Data is getting a lot of attention today and many companies are also planning to invest in this technology over the next few quarters. Despite this optimism, companies still fail to understand the full strategic potential of Big Data. Many of the big data projects have also failed making enterprise even more apprehensive when it comes to the ‘actual’ deployment. In such a scenario, experts believe to get a considerable return on investment from Big Data implementation, it is imperative that organizations have a 360-degree view of a Big Data project will not only involves the technologies associated with it, but also a greater collaboration among different teams and people within the organization.  

Greater team collaboration

Ironically, most companies at present have limited their Big Data investment in some specific business functions. For example, a recent TCS report reveals Big Data investments in most companies are limited to business functions on the revenue side including sales, marketing and product development. However, big data has not been strategically utilized for the back office functions like IT, human resources and finance.

Analysts see a clear communication gap between teams, especially between marketing and IT departments in most organizations, as a result of which there Big Data projects result in failure. “Unless companies learn to break the silos and have a greater collaboration between teams, it will be a challenge for them to get a greater ROI from big data projects,” says Ramesh Kumar, Senior VP, Analytics Division at Symphony Teleca.

Big data also bring about a cultural change in the organization and requires a strong leadership and vision, believes Anil Kuril, DGM- Information technology, Union Bank of India. In other words, it requires executives and people within the organization to drive the transformation. This will help companies understand the real potential of big data.

This clearly indicates that in order for companies to succeed with Big Data, executives will have to rethink how different departments should function together. Additionally, CIOs, CMOs and other executives should educate their organizations on the advantages of big data processes that will give them better customer insights, simplify their jobs and gives them the flexibility to meet virtually any business need in real-time, believes Kumar.

Creating a big data strategy

Companies that have implemented big data successfully have a well-thought-out big data plan in place. This may sound simple, but most companies currently fail to create a simple plan for how data, analytics, and people can come together to create business value. And this is again due to lack of interaction between the teams, point out the report.

“A well crafted plan can provide a common language allowing senior executives, CIOs and managers to talk through where the greatest returns will come from and in which data needs to be utilized. This will definitely help them make more strategic decisions and help them harness big data to the fullest,” observes Anirban Dey, Managing Director – SAP Labs.

A recent IDC report notes that globally, only 1 per cent of data has been analyzed to drive insights and innovation of what we call ‘big data’ today. The rest 99 per cent is yet to be explored by industries across segments. Of the various challenges, the report points out alienating people from big data process often causes failure in Big Data. As a result of which people’s role in big data implementation cannot be ignored if companies are looking at to get the real value out of the data.

As Dey points out a smarter data management approach that involved the entire teams within the enterprise and backed by strong leadership not only allows Big Data to be managed and utilized far more effectively but will also result in huge return on investment.