Paul Barth is the Founder and Managing Partner of New Vantage Partners.
New Vantage Partners
The term “Big Data” has many meanings and continues to evolve quickly. While the term originated in response to the need to manage large and diverse data sets, today’s promise of Big Data goes beyond its original technology–centric focus.
Realizing the value of Big Data today demands more than technology. It requires the vision, experience and know-how necessary to see Big Data as a strategic opportunity and to leverage it across an enterprise. Today, there are many voices in the arena of Big Data, but only a few who understand the real opportunity for Big Data to create shareholder value.
We believe that for enterprises to be successful in their Big Data initiatives, they must consider these realities:
1. Big Data Impacts Every Business Function
The impact of “Big Data” extends far beyond those traditionally associated with data, creating an opportunity for every business function to rethink how it innovates, forecasts, plans, operates and interacts with customers.
2. The Power of Big Data is Outside the Four Walls of the Enterprise
“Big Data” presents the opportunity to leverage large and diverse sets of third-party content such as demographics, social media and government-supplied data. This presents opportunities and threats that hold potential to reshape organizations, industries and markets.
3. Big Data Creates New Risks
“Big Data” presents new risks and opportunities associated with issues such as ownership, quality and consistency. These must be considered, leveraged, addressed and balanced in order to realize the full potential of the opportunity.
When we think about the potential business impact that can be realized from Big Data, it is important to understand the potential reach of Big Data within an enterprise:
- Beyond Technology. Big Data can impact every function across the enterprise and must be driven by business value rather than the selection and use of a technology searching for a problem. Big Data changes how people make decisions and perform their work; the processes used to produce and deliver products and services; and the nature of customer interactions and relationships. Across all functions, from strategy and new product development, to marketing and sales, to improving operational and management effectiveness, to human resources and others – Big Data can be truly enterprise-wide in its scope and impact.
- Innovation. Big Data is a big enabler of innovation; product, service, process, regulatory, operational innovation, line of business and business model innovations. Whether it is exploring and discovering information to drive new innovation; improving processing speeds of legacy batch jobs that is inhibiting growth or extending existing business application’s value, Big Data has a role to play. It enables companies to leverage third-party data to vastly expand the body of content available to support product and service innovation. Selecting the right third-party data sources for your Big Data initiative is critical.
- Customer Perspective. A complete Big Data strategy requires organizations to “walk in our customer’s shoes” to understand their perspectives on what data we collect, use and synthesize that relates to them and their preferences. As more companies utilize Big Data, our customers will be uniquely impacted and that perspective is critical.
- Risk. The addition of third-party content brings with it new risks. Issues of data governance, ownership, security, privacy, disclosure, integrity, reliability, accuracy and regulatory compliance must be addressed in order to realize the opportunity of Big Data. Mastering the ability to manage these risks will pay dividends in the form of enhanced customer loyalty and brand reputation.
- Cultural Change. Big Data can help you move your organization into the future. But it will also demand changes in the entity’s culture with new target operating models and governance to address changes in – how data is sourced, analyzed, used and decisions made, risks managed, results reported, changes in technology and business processes. Successful cultural change in support of Big Data will help make decisions better, faster and smarter.
Prescription for Success
In sum, to realize the full benefit resulting from Big Data initiatives, enterprises must demonstrate:
- A business-decision driven approach to Big Data
- A strong understanding of the opportunities, sources, quality and use of internal data as well as available third-party data
- An ability to establish business transformation capabilities and experience to help clients envision, design, implement and operate Big Data solutions.
- A technology agnostic perspective that extends beyond technology selection and deployment that allows clients to develop the right Big Data solution for their needs.
- Recognized leadership in the management of large scale data and information problems.
Editor’s Note: Prithwi Thakuria, Practice Leader at New Vantage Partners, also contributed to this article.
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