Big Data – the technology challenge for our age, or part of
the ongoing development of the art of management? You get a strong technology push if you
listen to the messages coming from the ICT vendor, enterprise software and
We have a different take on Big Data – we see it as a bigger
challenge and opportunity than just transmitting and storing large amounts of data.
For many years now, the teaching of business strategy has
been about looking at the environment, identifying the relevant signals and
then acting on them.
We liken this to the historical challenges faced by the
explorers setting out on sea voyages of discovery. At the outset, they may not have known their
destination – indeed the very nature of exploration is to see what’s out
there. However, they did not set out
blindly. The captain, navigator and crew
all had their particular skills to help drive the ship, and in doing this they
had to take in, act on and manage lots of signals – the weather, the sun and
stars, their food supplies, enemies (and pirates!).
Isn’t this akin to today’s business planning and
management? Todays’ business managers
have to do their job in a world where the data that’s available is growing
exponentially. Still, their challenges
remain the same – managing the torrent of data and turning it into useful
So now, we come to big data.
The challenge for management is to both manage this data (and that
includes the technology issues to do with bandwidth and storage) and to use it
to their advantage. Analysing and acting
on Big Data enables more real time decision making, insight discovery and
How do we address the big data challenge??
Well, the storage vendors say “buy more”.
They may even be joined by the CIOs in saying
this. The CEOs are saying “how will this benefit us”?
The CFOs, on the other hand, are saying “how
do I pay for this – where’s the financial return”?
The HR managers are saying “who’s going to
manage this – who has the skills”?
the customers (and corporate lawyers) are saying “what about the privacy of my
enior executives can be forgiven
for asking “What’s going on? Who else is working on this? What information is
out there that I need and what would we do if we had it?”
This brings us back to the original question. Is big data a technology issue or a wider
management challenge? We believe that
the technology cannot be ignored.
However, we also believe that there are bigger problems to solve –
management, skills, planning - to name a few.
That’s our thinking.
Are you doing
anything in the big data space? Do you have any successes that you would like
to share? What do you think is the
biggest roadblock to embarking on your voyage of big data discovery?
Written by Information Professionals - Senior Consultants, David Ekert and Tom Collins.
David is an experienced Program Manager, CIO, business manager and a CPA (Certified Practicing Accountant). David has a broad range of Finance, HR, IT and Program Management
capabilities, having provided well considered opinions and trusted
advice to others over a period of many years. David maintains his CPA
and AIM memberships and keeps his knowledge current on emerging issues
for his government and business clients.
Tom has over 11 years Organisation Development and Project Management
experience leading and managing business improvement in large and medium
size organisations. Tom’s key consulting expertise includes business
process review, customer relationship management, change management,
workshop facilitation, systems planning, development and implementation.
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Labels: Analysts, Australia, Big Data, Business, CIO, David Ekert, Georges Cascales, ICT, IT, Problems, Technology, Tom Collins