Getting a better read on performance:
It’s no secret that big data offers enormous potential for businesses. Every C-suite on the planet understands the promise. Less understood—much less put into practice—are the steps that companies must take in order to realize that potential. For all their justifiable enthusiasm about big data, too many businesses risk leaving its vast potential on the table—or, worse, ceding it to competitors.
Big data has brought game-changing shifts to the way data is acquired, analysed, stored, and used. Solutions can be more flexible, more scalable, and more cost-effective than ever before. Instead of building one-off systems designed to address specific problems for specific business units, companies can create a common platform leveraged in different ways by different parts of the business. And all kinds of data—structured and unstructured, internal and external—can be incorporated.
Yet big data also requires a great deal of change. Businesses will have to rethink how they access and safeguard information, how they interact with consumers holding vital data, how they leverage new skills and technologies. They’ll have to embrace new partnerships, new organization structures, and even new mind-sets. For many companies, the challenge of big data will seem as outsized as the payoff. But it doesn’t have to be.
Real world view:
- Big data, by itself, can’t change the world. But by applying the insights gleaned through the analysis of big data, companies can transform the way the world does business.
- In engagements with clients we’ve found it helpful to break down big data into three core components: data usage, the data engine, and the data ecosystem. For each of these areas, two key capabilities have proved essential. By developing the resulting six capabilities, today’s businesses can put in place a solid framework for enabling—and succeeding with—big data.
What gives leaders the edge?
- Data. Leaders find a way to get the data they need to meet their goals. They don’t get distracted by data gaps or dwell on how they’ll access all the data that’s available. They focus on the data they need to solve the problem or issue they have identified.
- Vision. Over time, leaders have attained or built an understanding of how to use big data and its value to their companies. They know what they are trying to achieve with their big data programs, and they have developed detailed operating plans for realizing this vision.
- Tools and Insights. Big data is technology-enabled, and leaders focus on getting the right technology platforms and having the analytical experience necessary to make appropriate technology decisions.
- Execution. Insights left on the shelf are worthless. Companies that win with big data have learned to put their insights to work, altering business processes as needed. They treat their operational environment as a learning lab and adapt to the changes their insights warrant. They also have effective governance models to keep programs on track.