Is Big Data Just a Big Distraction?
In the race to get more value from business information, is “big data” worth the trouble?
Your business generates a tremendous and growing amount of data. If you could decode it all, you could be sitting on a significant competitive advantage. And yet there’s a growing chorus of business leaders who claim that by focusing on big data – datasets that are very large, highly complex, or both – companies could be missing out on other, more immediate opportunities.
So which is it? Does big data really hold the keys to breakout insights into the business, or is it just distracting from the real business at hand?
Here’s the debate:
|Big data? We still haven’t mastered
We can’t afford to chase the next big thing when we aren’t even using the data we already have.
|Who says enterprise data has the
answers we need?
At best, our enterprise data contains only 80 percent of what we need. Big data could include the ingredients we’ve been missing all along.
|Who has the time to count all the sand on the beach?
It would be great to get our big data in order. But that’s just a luxury we don’t have now.
|This is about identifying patterns,
Mastering big data gives us the power to know exactly where to focus – so we can ignore the unimportant stuff.
|Big data isn’t an asset – it’s an albatross.
Big data is real, but it’s also a serious burden. It takes a lot of time to work with big data and the payoff is still unclear.
|If data is an asset, big data is an
even bigger asset.
Big data is a real phenomenon that can bring real value. Don’t sit this one out.
|We don’t have the talent to get it done.
Dealing with big data is exponentially more challenging than dealing with enterprise data. It takes rocket scientists – and we don’t have them.
|Talent isn’t the issue.
The real obstacle here is our ability to maintain a laser focus on the business issues we can address with big data and having the technology in place to do it. This doesn’t require a deep bench of talent.
Greg Szwartz, Director, Deloitte Consulting LLP
I have to admit to being more than a little skeptical when I hear all this talk about the promise of big data. Sure, if we could crack the code on big data, we’d all be swimming in game-changing insights. Sounds great. But in my day-to-day work with clients, I know better. They’re already waging a war to make sense of the growing pile of data that’s right under their noses. Forget big data – those more immediate insights alone could be game-changers and most companies still aren’t even there yet. Even worse, all this noise about big data threatens to throw them off the trail at exactly the wrong moment.
Yes, the hype is deafening. There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical. But big data probably deserves a place in your overall strategy for generating business insight. Don’t drop everything to go chase big data. Instead, start generating a list of important challenges or questions that your current approach to data does not address. Could big data deliver the answers you’re looking for? If so, it’s all about discipline. A disciplined, targeted approach to big data – one focused on answering very specific questions for the business – is one that you can probably take on today without abandoning your current efforts. That’s an approach even a skeptic can embrace.
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