Big data is a potential information powerhouse. Data is streaming from all angles – mass media, business forums, social media, web surfing, and Internet-connected devices. In terms of volume, velocity, and variety, data creation is exploding and managing it is no small task. The essence of data management is analyzing data to make more accurate predictions and informed decisions.
Data management is a purposeful process that involves the what, who, why, and how of managing it.
What data is needed?
High-quality data is what chief data officers (CDOs) are looking for. Volumes of data are streaming in terabytes, petabytes, or even exabytes of unfiltered information in a variety of formats. The first step to effective data management is to clean the data list by determining what is relevant, consistent, reliable, reasonable, complete, and timely to achieve business goals. Overlapping or duplicate data should be discarded to minimize clutter in the data center.
Who should be on board the big data initiative?
The initiative should start at the top – the leadership. A brilliant leader will create a data management team and appoint a competent CDO who can be trusted. The CDO must ensure that all members of the team understand how the process works, provide the technology tools they need, and persuade them to embrace the initiative. After all, business decisions will be made based on the team’s analysis, not on hunches and instincts.
Why is big data important?
Traditional decision making has been dominated by gut and intuition rather than by data and accuracy. Big data has the potential to transform both modern and traditional businesses by using valuable information to make smarter decisions and proactive interventions. It provides better insights into what customers like and want, now and in the future.
How can businesses get started?
Companies looking to realize the full potential of big data need to build a strong data management strategy by going through the following steps:
Discover and collect data. Data can be sourced internally and externally. Internal data comes from enterprise resources such as customer details, product and sales data, and operational processes. External data typically comes from business partners, suppliers, government, the business community, and the Internet.
Process, secure, and manage data. Data needs to be defined, understood, classified, cleansed, and audited before storing it for security reasons. CDOs should set up firewalls, spam filtering, malware protection, and authorization control over team members to ensure that relevant data is not lost.
Measure and analyze data. This step involves applying statistical and business analytics concepts to the data to extract insights necessary for decision making. Structured data can be easily presented in graphs where patterns can be analyzed. Unstructured data like those from social media and email exchanges may take longer to visualize, but preferences, choices, and customer perceptions can also be arranged in patterns.
Use data for decision making. Decision makers can use the resulting insights for immediate or future courses of action. For instance, if social media data is a consistent and reliable source of customer preferences, the enterprise may need increased social media presence.
Big data management goes beyond the collection and storage of streaming data. It involves a new set of technologies and processes to enable business transformation. Contact us at Copper State Communications to learn how big data transforms businesses.