After examining more than 400 large companies, a recent study found that those who had more advanced analytical capabilities exceeded, by far its competitors in several ways:

  • Twice as likely to find the best positioned in financial performance within their industry.
  • It is five times more likely to make decisions faster than competitors.
  • It is three times more likely to implement decisions as we had planned.
  • Twice as likely to frequently use data when making decisions.

There was so patent, that early adopters of Big Data has gained a significant advantage over their competitors. This explains the fact that at the moment, many companies wonder what situation they are in the world of Big Data compared to its rivals and if they are ignoring a new essential tool to be competitive.

But what do you need an organization to enter the world of Big Data?

First data is needed. Large amounts of data in a format that enables us to access and analyse them easily. Most large companies already have this data, sometimes in such quantities that they find it impossible to analyse. Second is necessary to have an advanced tool for data analysis. At present there are numerous tools on the market both proprietary and open source. The only thing we need is to have staff with the right skills to use. This brings us to the third requirement, knowledge. Advanced data analysis requires personnel with extensive knowledge. From statistical analysis knowledge to the knowledge of the current legislation on data privacy in different countries, to thoroughly understand the business and what are the relevant data sources.

But even having covered these three points we cannot achieve the goal, for the simple reason that Big Data is not just a new technology in fact is a business program that requires the use of a technology expert. That’s why it is not enough to provide the necessary skills and knowledge, and expect the IT or the marketing department start delivering results. We need to introduce Big Data deeply into the organization. It is the only way to ensure that information is shared among the business units.

Many leading companies have begun the process of introduction of Big Data considering clear objectives. We need to adopt Big Data as a new way of doing business. Will incorporate advanced analytics and predictions as key elements in decision-making. The defence of these ideas by the leaders of the company is key to produce the necessary cultural change, but it is equally important to the organization explaining how Big Data can help us to improve the performance of the company, to which point we intend to go and where we do focus (improving existing products or services, improving internal processes, creating new products, transforming the business model, …).

Once we have defined our goals, leaders should focus on developing analytical process ability horizontally in the organization. To achieve this we must overcome the resistance to change and building both knowledge and the desire to use data throughout the organization. This is probably the hardest task, since organizations do not change easily, and the value of Big Data may not be obvious to everyone. It is essential to encourage analytical decisions, making sure the data is embedded in all key decision processes.

The leaders in the process can then create a new unit that centralize all the analytical capabilities of the organization, such as a Excellence Centre (EC) led by the chief of analysis (CAO) . Basically there are four possibilities of organization:

  • Departmental Model
  • Central Support departmental model
  • Excellence Centre
  • Fully centralized

Companies like AT & T, Google, Amazon and Netflix have followed any of these models.

Note that the IT department is not the owner of Big Data in any case. IT plays a critical role in providing and maintaining the infrastructure and tools needed to run Big Data, but never owns or manages the capabilities of adoption of Big Data in the company.

Build from scratch an EC requires much time and is not an easy task. The personnel needed for training is one the most important problems. We need statisticians, software engineers, business managers, legal experts. Only get this staff can take us over a year, and put into operation another year.

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