Are you drowning in the big data deluge?

Surfing the big data wave

By Rigby Stott, IsoMetrix Director: North America

The basis for commercial enterprise is information. With big data, businesses have more information available to them than ever before. This ocean of information opens up deeper levels of insight, which leads to better decision-making. But, it can also lead to information overload. How then, do you save yourself from drowning in the data deluge?

Our ability to generate vast quantities of information is outpacing our ability to process and manage that information, at least, without supporting technology tools.
Analyzing the flood of information that big data inundates us with is difficult, if not impossible to do manually. By creating ways to filter the information you need, you can cut through the white noise, and use the data effectively and unlock its value to your organization. Data for its own sake does more harm than good because when there is too much information, people switch it off.

Curbing information ignorance

The ability to understand and interpret the data available to you is vital. Data literacy comes through training and experience and brings with it the ability to distinguish essential information.

Another important consideration is the sensitivity of the data you are collecting. It is not necessary to collect sensitive information about stakeholders, for example, that you are not going to use. This creates an unnecessary security risk. There is always the danger that your data can be hacked and sensitive information be used for malicious means. Without data literacy, it is difficult to discern what data is relevant and necessary to meet the organization’s strategic goals.

The data you need

By properly classifying your data, you can prevent big data sweeping you away. The data you collect needs to align with your strategic goals. Having a clearly defined strategy before you start, allows you to manage your data more effectively. The data you choose to analyze though intelligent dashboards will help you to determine if you are meeting your strategic objectives. A high-level portrayal of data through these dashboards highlights trends and still allows you to drill drown into the detail to investigate the causes.
Data supports improved decision-making processes. The idea is not to have less data – and miss the multitude of benefits of big data – rather, you need better ways of managing this volume of data. The data needs to be integrated and not hidden in the siloes created by multiple data management systems or worse, hiding in spreadsheets.

Business intelligence

Most people are visual, so graphically representing information makes it easier to process and interpret data. Your dashboards need to be intuitive and easy to understand, so that they enrich decision-making without further obscuring usefulness in the inundation of information.
This is the key to building a data-driven organization, one able to meet its objectives and make the best decisions possible with the wealth of information available to them.