When it comes to big data I’m reminded of the adage, “life is a marathon, not a sprint.” Many companies are wrestling with progress or maturity relative to big data and big data strategies. But, a big data strategy is a journey rather than a destination. In that sense, targeting a strategic outcome with big data may be less important than considering a strategic orientation for big data.
Why? First, big data’s definition continues to evolve. Internal and external data sources are proliferating, and what had been a historical emphasis on quantitative transaction data is now rapidly evolving to include qualitative data on consumer behavior, perception and more. At the same time, data volumes are growing rapidly because of source proliferation but also because data is becoming more and more granular. And data velocity is accelerating as data elements increasingly become available in real-time. Looking ahead as we move into the age of the internet of things, even more data is coming that will make big data ever bigger, faster and more granular.
The evolution of big data means that companies’ strategies and capacity to derive value from that data must also continue to evolve. Certainly this involves developing an innovative technology platform for real-time enterprise data management. But, the challenge also goes well beyond the ability to acquire, harmonize and manage data. To innovate continuously as big data evolves, CP companies will have to begin to develop a strategic view of big data, developing clear priorities relating to different dimensions of data strategy – where are our most strategic data sources, what data do we need, why is that data important for us and, most significantly, who most benefits and how?
In this way, deriving value from big data will become less of a strategy to deploy and achieve and more of an ongoing strategic orientation to cultivate and develop as a critical component of competitive differentiation and long-term growth.
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