Big data is often accompanied by tremendous benefits, but various challenges and setbacks usually aren’t far behind. Many companies certainly have the desire to adopt big data, but those challenges can be enough to keep them from ever truly reaping the rewards. Big data adoption isn’t always the easiest strategy and with the number of obstacles and barriers present, it’s no wonder organisations can feel intimidated with the idea of using big data analytics. Data science is a whole new world of platforms, tools, and technologies that can catch an unprepared business by surprise. Luckily, the barriers to big data adoption can be overcome - some of them quite easily. The first step is knowing what those obstacles are and why they can derail any attempt to properly use big data.
Overcoming the organisational model
Far too often, the biggest barrier to a business fully adopting big data exists in the very organisational model the business may be using. How a company is set up and their current culture has a great effect on the implementation of big data solutions. Is a company more open about sharing and communication, or does each department largely keep to themselves? Put simply, the more open a business’s organisational structure is, the more success they’ll have adopting big data. That means a willingness to share data among different people and departments. Whereas before, divisions like marketing, sales, customer service, accounting, and more would largely keep to themselves, in the age of big data, breaking down those divisions should be a priority. For example, the marketing team may have valuable customer data that can greatly benefit the sales team. Breaking down these organisational silos means breaking down big data adoption barriers.
Overcoming existing IT architecture
A company’s organisation may be a hindrance to big data adoption, but at the same time existing IT architecture can prove to be a challenge. Legacy systems are those systems that companies are the most comfortable with, but integrating new big data technologies with those systems can make for a complicated task. Any time a business looks to adopt big data, they’ll need to carefully plan and design the changes to IT architecture, making sure their systems are able to handle the added data sets. The overwhelming big data challenge is to ensure the information an organisation is using is accurate and consistent. Many legacy systems are unable to do this so that requires a complete rework of the IT architecture, making it big data ready.
Overcoming the big data talent gap
Even if every piece of technology within a business is ready for big data, from the network to flash storage, if companies don’t have the talent on hand to use it, the big data will be of little benefit. The big data talent gap is a significant barrier that many enterprises are facing as big data grows in popularity. Demand for data scientists is already high and only on the rise, yet the number of qualified data scientists available is low. Many universities are trying to rectify this problem with new programs and degrees, but it will take years for supply to finally catch up with demand. In the meantime, organisations are struggling to find the right people to fill data scientist positions. Without the talent, big data’s potential is often wasted.
Overcoming a lack of awareness
Another major barrier to big data adoption is one that’s a bit more abstract. As put by various CEOs and tech experts, many companies simply aren’t aware of all that big data can do. Some use cases are by now well known among businesses, but that’s only scratching the surface of big data solutions. Big data can do so much more than existing examples indicate, but too many companies get tunnel vision with the possibilities. Even in those cases where big data is proven to work, many businesses believe they’re simply unable to replicate the results. That puts an artificial limit on big data and leads many companies to perform poorly when it comes to adoption.
With these barriers in mind, organisations will be in an advantageous position to ensure the right technology is available, that their culture will foster big data, that the talent is there to use it, and that they can think outside the box of possibilities. Big data adoption represents a major change to any company, but the benefits that will come with it will prove well worth the effort in making that change.
Implementing big data analysis - Microsoft Virtual Academy
Big data analytics - Microsoft Virtual Academy
Rick Delgado feels blessed to have had a successful career in the tech industry and has recently taken a step back to pursue his passion of writing. He’s started doing freelance writing where he occasionally works with tech companies like Dell Computers. He enjoys writing about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet.