Big data is aptly named – the volume, speed, and variety of data that can be mined is astronomical in today’s digital and heavily web-based environment. While analyzing data from areas such as social media, consumer habits, and patterns of behavior can yield potentially advantageous insights for business strategies and decision making, big data can just as potentially bury a company under its avalanche of information. Here are three ways to stay on top of data collection and ensure investments in data analysis produce useful results.
Start Small, Integrate Slowly
Collecting and analyzing data can become a monumental task that may end up quickly eating through resources without producing a matching ROI. If a business is just beginning its use of data analytics, it is important to make a commitment but to start small and to limit the use and exposure of mined data and their analyses. Finding a flexible business intelligence (BI) software that can be integrated into the operational framework of the company is a valuable tool for making big data work for the company and not the other way around.
Identify Specific Goals
When deciding to use data analytics, it is helpful to identify a specific area or aspect in the business that will directly benefit. BI reporting software can help track customer spending and buying habits as well as various external business trends and internal company processes. This can then shed light on a business’s strengths and weaknesses and point out where added insight from big data may be useful. Keeping a clear goal in mind with a measurable outcome is important for not getting lost in a sea of data or even worse, potentially being led astray by irrelevant or overwhelming data analyses.
Choosing an Analytics Platform
Once a clear plan and goal for data collection and analysis are in place, the next step is choosing which BI reporting software or analytical platform will be the best suited to the particular idiosyncrasies of a company. While Hadoop has heavy hitting name recognition and is open source, there is a growing selection of companies that offer data collection and analysis services.
Big Data, when utilized judiciously and when vigorously analyzed, can help companies identify patterns where business strategies may be or need to be improved upon. With the right software or service and a firm roadmap to implementation, a company can begin to harness the vast knowledge base provided by data analytics.