Last month’s Capgemini and Informatica’s The Big Data Payoff report reveals the successful habits of profitable Big Data teams. Peter Ruffley, Chairman at Zizo argues that the key to big data success is to start from the desired business outcomes.
Capgemini and Informatica have recently issued their The Big Data Payoff report – which reveals the successful habits of profitable Big Data teams – and I have to admit, this new research is both surprising and not surprising to me.
I strongly believe that regardless of how big or small a business is, or whether it’s the COO, CDO or CIO in charge of a big data project, the key to getting the project right, is to start from the desired business outcomes.
Once you know what you’re trying to get out of the data, you can then decide what’s the best analytical tool for the job.
The research* shows that only 27 per cent of organisations admit to having run profitable big data projects. And the fact is, too many big data projects we see start by searching for the right technology, dumping a mass of data into it and then trying to work out how it can help the business. That’s frankly the wrong way round. It’s like buying land in a distant country without getting it surveyed first and then trying to work out what to do with the land.
In the rush to use big data companies are being dazzled by technology and forgetting that it should serve the business. Not the other way round. Also, IT staff shouldn’t have to spend time producing one or two-page reports on the historic performance of a department or the whole business. Far better for them to keep the lights on and think of ways technology can support expansion into new markets and new products and services.
Furthermore, the challenge is that most businesses do not have a culture of using data to make decisions so the question becomes where to start?
In my opinion the first step on a journey to a data driven organisation is the most important, because if it is successful then it will naturally start to create a culture of analytics within the business. All organisations, regardless of size, should start by asking themselves the questions that are most business critical, and keep the analytics on these simple and low cost. Delivering quick value will not only prove the case for data analysis, but will encourage the business to do more with its data.
Businesses are simply awash with data, not all of which will add the same level of value, in the same way that not all intuitive decisions are necessarily best. It is only by focusing on the desired business outcomes, and the data that will best inform those outcomes, that organisations can best combine human experience with data analytics to support growth and innovation.
By Peter Ruffley