Leveraging Big Data for Operational Excellence
Here at Flick, we keep on top of Cloud, Big Data, Analytics and many other interesting things (eg., ping pong, interpretive dancing, pizza etc…). Last month was all about Data Management — We’ve become pretty well versed in some of the strategic ideas from a recent McKinsey article as well as a new one from IDG research. In addition; I took a close look at Forrester’s examination on how big data can help a company’s bottom line.
The Forrester report is closely aligned with our experience here at Flick Software. Many of our clients currently produce reports around specific business units, but fail to look at the big picture. Transparency and reporting across business lines has amazing power — it can help drive new insights and ultimately increase revenues and corporate value.
The Forrester report is apply named, “Big Data Fabric Drives Innovation and Growth”. It has a particular focus on moving from “silo” based measurement to a data management structure that takes into account the entire organization. As Forrester explains, “Today, most big data deployments are built in silos largely to address specific business needs, such as collecting sensor data for smart metering, web clickstream data for customer analytics, and geolocation data for consumer personalization.”
This is precisely why organizations need to consider putting into place a strategic plan that addresses their future data management architecture. Although, not a simple task – planning is the first step in leveraging all of your corporate data. I’m a huge proponent; as I’ve seen first-hand, the power of harnessing data and displaying the results. Results that really have impact — competitive advantage, supply chain management efficiencies, etc. This concept isn’t new to business leaders — but the ominous challenge comes down to “how do I do this and where do I start?”.
For Flick, it starts with a plan that takes into account a holistic view of your data and what needs to be extracted to give you a competitive advantage. Smart organizations should plan around a couple of key components. The first is obviously data — however the second critical factor is technology. As we move forward, technology will continue to morph at an incredibly fast pace. Companies need to plan how these technologies will fit into their existing infrastructure on an ongoing basis. Data sources, analytics tools and engines will change at a screaming fast pace.
Data Management Platforms
To further drive home my message, the Forrester report states, “Without a big data fabric, firms will spend excessive time and effort to ingest, integrate, transform, curate, secure, and deliver big data insights to business stakeholders.” When planning and building your technology infrastructure, companies need to have a laser focus on data. One mustn’t separate big data from structured operational data. Your platform needs to address and manage the source, format and sheer scale, as well as cloud and on-premise data sources.
Your data management platform and architecture should support your overall big data plan. Some of the areas companies need to cognizant of are the following:
- Data warehouse/BI reporting and diagnostics
- Real time management and operational decision support
- Support for business data self-service
- Support for analytics innovation and rapid experimentation