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'Utilising big data for efficient business decisions' [Sun, The (Nigeria)]
[January 14, 2014]

'Utilising big data for efficient business decisions' [Sun, The (Nigeria)]

(Sun, The (Nigeria) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BY OLABISI OLALEYE Information and Communication Technology (ICT) experts have identified 'Big data as  one of the biggest  IT trend  that  will determine which organisation survive, thrive or die this year..

Others are biomobility (Biometrics + Mobility), new media, Internet of everything (IoE)/Apps of Everything(AoE), smart machine  + Intelligent robot, 3D Printing and Virtualisation + Cloud services. Big data is simply the voluminous information including social media, in-house information that has grown exponetially out of proportion in sizes  and location.

Just few years ago, big data  evolved from an emerging trend and grew into a full-blown IT phenomenon and organizations are challenged by the need to process and manage it all faster than before. While one may argue that the hype surrounding big data is growing faster than data itself, the time has nonetheless come for organizations to develop a proactive strategy to address the challenges caused by this exponential growth in data volume, velocity and variety.

According to a Director in  Dell Software, Joanna Schloss, there are five steps businesses can take to get pass the hype and insulate themselves from the pressure that  big data creates. These five are conversion of data into information, embracing data agnostically, control, augumentaion and governance deployment. She disclosed there's a big difference between data and information. Data, in a vacuum, is not incredibly value.

"The value comes from your ability to convert data into information that can be used to drive informed business decisions. But most organizations are so overwhelmed by their volume of data that they don't know where to begin the process of converting it into information". Another expert, Darin Bartik, pointed that a  business-driven question will help focus organisation's efforts and make the task of converting data into information more manageable and attainable.

"We now operate in a world where the proliferation of multiple data types in multiple locations is the norm. Despite this new reality, too many organizations still try to confine data into a single platform, source or location, and many still make blanket decisions about which data is or isn't useful based on nothing more than its perceived value. Instead, organizations should embrace data agnostically and seek solutions that connect to all data types, in all locations.

Only by embracing data agnostically can organization truly discover the valuable insights hidden within non-traditional data types such as social media",Bartik stated.

Schloss added that involving employees, not tools, would shape organization, saying "that's why it's time to embrace the concept of self-service data access and visualization. This will put the power back in the hands of your people, empowering them to use their domain expertise to make key decisions.

However, she noted that organizations become resigned to the solutions they have in place because their current system is flawed, but they'd rather continue with the flawed approach than have to pay for and learn an entirely new one.

"Many great solutions exist now that are complementary in nature as well as designed to help get more out of the investments you've already made." She maintained that governance should be a key consideration for both IT and other line of business. While reiterating that respect for governance should be embraced across all functional areas, and by all users in a given big data initiative.

"In no uncertain terms, governance is everyone's responsibility and should be evenly deployed throughout an organization. The key to making this happen is collaboration. When IT and line-of-business collaborate, you create an organizational culture where priorities are clear, objectives are uniform and most importantly, nothing falls through the cracks", she said.

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