The holidays are over, time to get back to work. Many of you may have made resolutions to improve your life, always a worthy effort, and are now attempting to make them habits (or have already forgotten them!) Here are my practical suggestions if you want to make big data an increasingly valuable part of your business strategy, but aren't sure how to begin.
- Start now - It's a fresh new year, time for a fresh new data-driven approach using big data. You can't afford to "wait and see" any longer, as your competitors are moving forward.
- Take stock - Look closely at what data sources you currently use today and how you use it. Having a baseline on your organizational maturity will help show your progress (and gaps.)
- Turn over a new leaf - How could you better use the data you already have? Think about how you can share with more decision makers, and new ways of extracting insights.
- Expand horizons - See what additional data sources are available. Now brainstorm and look again. Most organizations have a lot of "exhaust" data and there are many public sources too.
- Cleanse your data - What simple steps can you take to have a healthier data source? Deduplicating records, scrubbing bad data, and supplementing holes will all improve quality.
- Begin a regimen - Remember change management and organizational behavior ideas. Data-driven decision making should become a steady habit for your company. Trust the data, but keep testing and refining, and most importantly keep asking questions!
- Make new friends - Cross-pollinate ideas between your lines of business, the IT team, and actual analysts or data scientists. No one group has all the pieces of the puzzle, you'll need to really collaborate.
- Get a makeover - Change your approach from a retro-active reporting style of business intelligence to use more real-time and predictive models. Not "what happened," instead ask "what could happen next?"
- Look to the future - What new technologies could help improve your capabilities. This space is rapidly evolving, and many new tools, especially around simplifying user interfaces to big data, are coming on the market.
- Have a life plan - There are a lot of steps to do, but don't be overwhelmed. Set concrete, incremental progress to your goals, and you'll be surprised at the results....
Where are you on this list? Any other recommendations to share?
*Painting of the Resolution