As a blog devoted to big data and all that comes with it, we thought it would be a great idea to check out the other blogs on the blogosphere and see what they had to say on the subject. An overwhelming majority of the blogs we found talked about tips on how to climb out from underneath the data deluge, and so we decided to put together all of the best and most relevant tips from those blogs. Above is an actual word cloud from the entirety of text from each of these blogs. (Click to zoom) Some very interesting words that popped up multiple times were retention, loyalty, and time. Wonder how those fit in to the Big Data puzzle...
What's that idiom about a dead horse?
Unsurprisingly, other popular terms were business, mobile, analytics, customers, big, and strategy. While the surprising terms were indicators of the unspoken benefits of successful big data strategies, these expected terms are related to the future of 2013 and the partners that are inherent in big data transition : mobile and analytics. We won't rehash the obvious; Big Data is essential for the success of all companies in the near future. We know it, you know it, heck, we've all been shouting it to the skies so much we wouldn't be surprised if aliens on Pluto know it. The trick to this success is going about it in the right way. Not forgetting essential cogs to this machine, and keeping it well oiled with flowing processes, carefully obtained and classified data, and a constant human presence.
How, Captain Dash? Oh won't you tell us?
Simmer down, of course we'll tell you. We want you to be prepared for the revolution, because only the STRONGEST WILL SURVIVE. Okay, just kidding, but the most efficiently-adapted will definitely have more competitive advantage than ever before. And what's the one goal of any successful marketer? I'll wait for you to go grab your university textbook.... Competitive Advantage! And so with great aplomb and satisfaction, we present to you our top tips for tackling Big Data. May the odds be ever in your favor!
If your company has any data-centric plan for 2013, you best believe that it will include some sort of data cleaning. According to Mary Shacklett, who blogged for TechRepublic on the matter, you'll need to do/have a few things if you want to get to a place of peace amidst the chaos. Data retention, classification, deduplication, tiered storage, quality data, and a sense of fierceness and relentlessness. We couldn't agree more. Think about it : you need to be one hundred percent clear on what type of data you'll collect and keep, and for how long. Without these protocols clearly established, you'll be buried underneath the avalanche, brave data skiier. Buried. And then there's the obvious need for classification: which data is more important for the business, which data requires certain security clearances over others, etc. What's cool is that this paves the way for automated tools to quickly "tag" the data for you. After the initial backlog, this process will run itself. Deduplication: totally obvious. Duplicates of data skew statistics and analytics! As far as tiered storage goes, this is just a question of economization. Most frequently accessed data on top, less frequent on bottom. Minimizes time spent retrieving important data. In terms of quality data, this just refers to the completeness of your data. You can deduplicate all you want, but if your data is incomplete, broken, or inaccurate, it will not only skew your analytics and business intelligence, but also screw up any application you use it in. Last but not least, BE FIERCE. No, we're not quoting a Beyonce lyric. We're serious. If you, as a non-IT professional, aren't part of regular IT data meetings, get in there. Apply these cleaning principles from now on to incoming data as well as legacy data. Take initiative and do it now!
Tri-fecta: Mobile, Big Data, Cloud
Sanjay Poonen, guest contributor for Gigaom, wrote a blog post that cleverly advised businesses to treat these three concepts as one to tackle them properly. If these three things are transforming IT at the same time, which they obviously are, then why not tackle them at the same time? Only logical, right? Take for example a smartphone. Mobile, right? Average of 41 applications, according to the post. Each of those applications producing huge amounts of data via its internet connection. These huge amounts of data are being transmitted through the cloud. So you see, to retain that competitive advantage, a company needs to find a way to optimize the relationship between these three seemingly unrelated IT concepts. If you needed any further convincing that neither one of these problems will go away while the other exists (sensing a Batman/Joker metaphor in here somewhere...or maybe Harry Potter/Voldemort?) think about this: there is no saturation point for the mobile phenomenon on the horizon. 87% of the world's population owns a mobile phone. And that percentage is not close to stagnation. The sooner a business starts to think of these three rising stars as one massive undertaking, they will be able to prepare before their competition, and...let's see if we've been paying attention.... what do we want? Competitive Advantage!
Dude, that's so meta....
METADATA! The first thing you'll think, hopefully, is data about data. That's more or less the jist of it. What does metadata have to do with big data? We find out in this great blog post written by Nicole Laskowski at TechTarget. Metadata is incredibly useful, and has been for years, even before this big data boom. The post cites the example of metadata use in solving crimes-- James McAfee flees Belize to escape a murder investigation, and the police find him through the geotagged metadata in a photo of McAfee in the New York Times. This principle applies to business just as much to crime fighting. If you have an unwieldy group of data, wouldn't it be nice to quickly see the basic information without having to delve deep into the data itself? "You don't have that option with big data," says Gwen Thomas, founder and president of the Data Governance Institute, "it's like drinking from a fire hose. You'll get knocked over." By utilizing metadata, companies can craft basic rules or definitions for a data concept and attach it to enterprise-wide data used for analytics. And herein lies the potential for big data: if we can get all of big data with metadata under it, our analytical capabilities will increase in potential and decrease in time it takes.
But what does it all mean, Captain?
It means, it's time to stop rejoicing that Big Data is here to put your company on the map, and start managing the nigh-unmanageable flow that's coming through your business doors. It's simpler than you think, and with the right mindset and the right tools, 2013 will be less a year for reporting, and more a year for doing.