Capping IT Off

Capping IT Off

Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Capgemini Group

The Big (Data) Game Cannot be Won without Effective Blocking and Tackling

More and more organizations are turning to systems integrators seeking guidance to help them understand how to harness the power of Big Data. These companies want to know how to efficiently manage massive volumes of complex (structured, semi-structured, and unstructured) data and how to leverage Advanced Analytics (predictive, social, mobile) to gain better insights on both the supply and demand side of their business. Today’s forward looking organizations are striving to achieve actionable intelligence – true business intelligence that answers current challenges with near real time answers and predictive insights to support bold decisions. Organizations of all types (Retail, Energy, Consumer Goods and Services, and Media & Entertainment) are looking for ways to tap into data that was previously trapped in unstructured sources such as PowerPoint, Word, Email, Social Media Sites, Sensor Data, etc. and leverage this previously ignored data to turn poor business decisions, made using haphazard guesswork, into well thought out and successful business decisions that improve performance.

However, before this analysis can be done, businesses must understand the data they collect and store. This data has to be identified, acquired, organized, filtered, and cleansed before it offers real value to the end business consumer. The basic “blocking and tackling” that business intelligence professionals have provided for years to structured data is just as vital to the success of any Big Data or Advanced Analytics initiative. Customers must have well thought out data governance plans, have a means to collect data (such as ETL tools and other solutions to collect complex data), have a strategy to store and organize the data collected, and have a goal for the value they expect the data to bring to their business. It is imperative the business work and prioritize these challenges ahead of time.

Once the organization understands its data, it needs to understand ‘why’ and ‘where’ Big Data makes sense in the organization. Developing a set of prioritized use cases for the organization will clarify the impacted functional areas and establish both strategic guidance for the initiative and a set of success criteria for measuring accomplishments. Big Data has deep roots in not just the technology used to deploy it, but in why the need for Big Data and associated analytics came into existence in the first place. Use cases help create business cases which provides both IT and the Business a common framework to address the Need-Technology-ROI questions asked by both organizational leadership and investors.

It is important to focus on the process of how one goes about a Big Data or Advanced Analytics initiative. In order to utilize the tools available in the market today, a company must first understand their available data landscape, information needs, then devise a proper information and business process strategy that drives and surfaces efficiencies across the organization and allows the organization to truly benefit from the power of the information such an initiative can release. At the same time, an overall culture of “information enabled” decision-making must be developed from top-down. The desire to immediately utilize the tools without first understanding the available data and devising a proper strategy that allows the organization to truly benefit from it is a recipe for disaster.

Capgemini BIM professionals are the foremost experts on what it takes to put forth an end-to-end Big Data and/or Advanced Analytics initiative. Because of our experience we recognize that an organization should not immediately jump onto the “Big Data and Advanced Analytics bandwagon” before their organization is ready – one cannot predict an organizations’ financial future without knowing and truly understanding its past. To that end, Capgemini’s Business Information Management (BIM) team has created an execution strategy that leverages our Information Strategy, Industrialized Delivery and Advanced Analytics capabilities to align and shape a Big Data solution. This approach insure the right organizational teams are involved in the planning and execution of the solution so that a Big Data initiative does not replace one silo of data with another. It also insures that your organization leverages existing investments in technology. When the time is right and our team has helped put all of the underlying pieces in place, the Capgemini BIM team can help our customers tackle their Big Data and Advanced Analytic initiatives. Having created several sector/industry specific solutions from Predictive Asset Maintenance for Telecommunications to In-memory Analytics offerings for Retail, Capgemini BIM brings to bear professional services personnel that are second to none and our proven best practices to help our customers create business analytics and visualizations to improve the executive decision making experience.

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