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Beth Schultz

Survey Shows Big-Data Disconnect

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Brian27
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Prospector
don't even talk to each other
Brian27   4/3/2013 9:29:08 AM
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I find the various divisions within a corporate IT department don't even talk to each other - much less talk to the data scientists!

A lot of people with whom I've talked, gathered as much from their experiences.  You'd think that this situation was a function of an organization's size - the bigger they are, the harder they stall (compartmentalize); and that is likely, to a point:  Within a small shop; the division of labor probably isn't as rigidly established, there's less turnover of personnel, and conversations more likely to be interactive (rather than one-way declarations from on high).

I think the same problem can effect smaller entities (maybe even to a higher degree), where IT functions are outsourced.  Whether it is, or isn't, an issue probably depends on the nature of the outsourcing, and the specific characteristics of the outsourcing firm (the more the service can be taken as a commodity, the more likely the occurrence).  Here, the attitudes, expectations and differences in agenda for the service contractor and service provider can result in the same failures in communication and coordination to be found in larger corporate structures. 

In both scenarios, much of the problem (in my opinion), stems from some fundamental misconceptions concerning data: people assume they are talking apples-to-apples, where the fruit is actually of quite a different color.  

Noreen Seebacher
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Blogger
Interest in big-data
Noreen Seebacher   4/3/2013 9:13:14 AM
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And now a word from google trends: a graph showing interest in big-data from 2011to the present.



Jeff
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Data Doctor
Re: Holding back on Big Data strategy
Jeff   4/3/2013 8:54:04 AM
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I agree with the bad/incomplete data scenario.  It's never going to be perfect.  I think there are many, often conflicting stategies right now that come from all over.  Once these are combined in a company things will be clearer.  Lack of knowledge is huge.  It's hard to create a data bases strategy.  It's new. Never been done.  So, it will take time.

Noreen Seebacher
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Blogger
Re: Holding back on Big Data strategy
Noreen Seebacher   4/3/2013 7:19:11 AM
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I find the various divisions within a corporate IT department don't even talk to each other - much less talk to the data scientists!

Brian27
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Prospector
Re: Holding back on Big Data strategy
Brian27   4/2/2013 11:32:02 PM
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I agree on the point of IT and Business often being dysfunctional partners (a whole other thread, chapter, book, library on the causes for that).  Suffice it to say that, if an organization were run as a sole proprietorship, the one person who had to see to it that everything necessary for the business to succeed wouldn't care who's rice bowl got broken in the process - that man or woman would take into account all the concerns, all the risks and benefits, before going ahead with any such initiative. 

When we build models we know there'll be noise.  We just need to minimize it and maximize the signal.  There, I think, is where you start building a bridge from data to inference using assumptions. 

A pretty safe assumption is that many enterprises will move forward, and aggressively, to exploit Big Data technology.  Many of these will profit from that; and many that are hesitant will loose a competitive advantage.  The phrases You can't win if you don't play and You have to be in it to win it are common and logically correct when applied to lotteries; but perhaps the economy in general would be in better shape if the focus was on steady gains through investment, rather than spectacular profits through speculation.  I guess that is old school, old thinking

I need it [data] for this purpose. Make it happen.  There's something in that.  Conceptual modeling to establish the information system requirements specific to an enterprise, using a suitable methodology, is spectacularly rare.  That suitable methodology is focused on discovering just what the informational needs are, and establishing the data structures which will support them.  Putting data manipulation ahead of purposed and well architected data structuring is, to my mind, putting the cart before the horse. 

Cordell
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Blogger
Re: Holding back on Big Data strategy
Cordell   4/2/2013 9:19:02 PM
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Maybe.  It's telling that the strategy (if there is one) resides with the CIO or IT organizations.  I wouldn't expect it to be anywhere else but most IT orgs aren't tasked with driving the business forward.  Mostly it's "make the it run at the least possible cost".  That's not a recipe for innovation. 

Maybe it's the wrong question.  It's not about a data strategy per se.  It's about what the data can do to drive the business.  If nobody in the organization has been able to articulate that, then I wouldn't expect any kind of IT strategy to emerge.  Someone from the business side has to say "I need it for this purpose. Make it happen." I don't think that's happened yet.  We need to stop thinking about the data and start thinking about the possibilities.

The "data's not complete, accurate, cleansed etc. etc" are old thinking. When we build models we know there'll be noise.  We just need to minimize it and maximize the signal.  If  you're waiting for perfect data you're going to be waiting a long time!

Analytical-Solution
User Rank
Blogger
Re: questioning the data on Big Data
Analytical-Solution   4/2/2013 5:33:34 PM
I think that is the issue Phil, I often wonder why my phone doesn't ring non stop but alas ignorance is bliss I guess - the clients I have wouldn't trade me for the world but seems they are the minority (as least by these stats on this article)

Brian27
User Rank
Prospector
Holding back on Big Data strategy
Brian27   4/2/2013 1:06:50 PM
To some extent, the term Big Data has the same characteristics as the term Cloud Computing.  Each term is open to a broad range of definition and implication; each is well suited as a marketing tag (positive, expansive, suggesting open territory); each term is used to unify some technologies and applications which have been undergoing development and adoption - but which have not had the sound-bite, web-search, friendly expression that gathered the treads. 

Because many established organizations have seen other next big thing buildups, which came with similar labels, and recall the failures as well as the success stories; some will want more clarification and time to consider risks vs. rewards before committing resources. 

As for no reason entries: that could also include no reason, which I can, or care to, articulate (assuming the survey provided the option for reasons not listed; and if they didn't provide that option - there's your reason for no reason

Noreen Seebacher
User Rank
Blogger
Re: questioning the data on Big Data
Noreen Seebacher   4/2/2013 1:06:08 PM
It's too easy to assume you "get" something when the subject is too complex to even wrap your head around.

philsimon
User Rank
Data Doctor
questioning the data on Big Data
philsimon   4/2/2013 11:19:43 AM
I just don't buy these numbers. So, upwards of 80% of the organizations get it? I have a hard time swallowing that. Perhaps many people just don't want to admit that they don't get it.

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