Big Data & Analytics – Your Practical Yoke

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More and more organizations are taking advantage of tools and services that bundle different types of data. Very pragmatically, Big Data is about the profitable analysis of information sources that an organization wasn’t previously tracking.

DATA first: Doing All Things Analytically              

Never juggle with Big Data and Analytics just because it feels fashionable to do so. Big Data Analytics definitely is an amazing discipline, however the techniques are instrumental. Your Data Science Office should always focus on DATA first: on “Doing All Things Analytically.” The Science part just isn’t the Big Science or rocket science that business executives might fear it is. Probably, you could not even afford such a money-squandering approach!

Anything Science just means Smart       

In 1911, Frederick Winslow Taylor published his historic Principles of Scientific Management. Originally Taylor used some profane terms like “shop management” and “process management.” This serves to show the sloppy use of “Science” as a catch phrase. Today, we speak of “Smart Whatsoever” instead, and indeed, “Smart Data Office” would be a more appropriate name. Always bear in mind that businesswise, anything so-called Scientific just means Smart: clever, new perhaps, but in any case completely common-sense.

Beware of Big Science  

Of course Big Science is an ancestor to Big Data but Big Data is not its heir! That’s what I tell executives all the time while stressing to beware of intriguing but false analogies. For instance in their December 2012 wrapup of top articles, presented the following shining Big Data examples: the U.S. National Weather Service; DNA Sequence Analysis; the U.S. National Archive and Records Administration; Optimal Wind Energy Turbine Placement and Maintenance; the U.S. IRS Compliance Data Warehouse; Project Artemis Medical Monitoring by IBM and the University of Ontario; Perimeter Intrusion Detection by TerraEchos e.g. for the U.S. Department of Energy; and NASA’s Human Spaceflight Imagery Collection, Archival and Hosting.
For sure these qualify as what calls “eight real-world big data deployments in a variety of industries” but all are expensive Big Science related innovations and shouldn’t be mistaken for practical business role models. In a business environment, as a rule of thumb one should always be able to reduce expensive to efficient and innovative to effective, in accordance with the laws of business economics.

Your Practical Yoke        

That’s what I tell customers: DATA first, meaning “Doing All Things Analytically,” plus sure, by all means go leverage new data sources. Subsequently, Big Data may come soon enough. Or perhaps it never will – lucky you! And yes, you may need new tools, skills, vizualizations, extra cloud functionality, et cetera. Just let your Smart Data Office and IT department figure that out together, while you, as a responsible business executive, should do your utmost to grasp the relevance. With such an approach you’ll be able to explain to anyone why data-driven analytics serves as your practical yoke: a simple tool – perhaps a little heavy at first – but certainly worth the burden.

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