Blog | Data & Analytics

Big Data 101 - Part 1

Launching yourself into the unknown is a lot harder than doing what you’ve done before and that’s why getting Big Data projects started is half the battle (probably more than half if we’re honest with ourselves). 

Big Data is now something that can deliver value to your average mid-sized NZ company. True.  Whether it’s using the technology to get performance gains from your data warehouse or whether it’s the sexier, tapping into new data sources, it’s now doable for everyone.  But not quite.  It’s more affordable, but it’s pretty hard to get it right and drive value.  Why’s that?  Big Data projects are different to traditional data projects.  The technology isn’t as mature and neither are the use cases as obvious and delivery experience so abundant.  

We’re firmly of the opinion that this shouldn’t hold you back so we’re putting together a series of articles talking about how to approach your first Big Data project in a way that will ensure success. Call it Big Data, 101.  

Our first article, Getting your head in the right space, is below.  We’ll follow this with an article on how to pick the right problem for Big Data to solve. Our final article will talk about how you sell it and how important this is to success.

Part 1 - Getting your head in the right space

Big Data where do you start? It’s just such a big, broad proposition, a complex bundle of technology, business problem’s, process and of course big varied datasets. Confused, worried? You’re not alone.

However like so many things in life if you keep your head and follow a few basic guidelines then there’s actually a pretty simple recipe to success with a Big Data project.

The first step, and this might sound a bit Meta, is self realisation. It’s very likely you are starting from zero or close to it, you know little but that’s ok very few people, both business and technical are in a better position. Once you accept you’re starting from the bottom then the only way is up, it’s actually more helpful than you might think.

A common natural reaction to uncertainty is to determine that absolute certainty is the only way to move forward. If you hear someone talking like that, fire them, that is the path to endless meetings, no progress, analysis paralysis and project death. Embrace change as a natural part of the process, be ambitious whilst remaining grounded and realistic regarding your capability and the task ahead.

In essence the earlier you have your “come to Jesus” moment the better. You’ll be better prepared to roll your sleeves up and get cracking whilst judging when and how to involve the experts to accelerate your progress and build confidence and a Big Data capability in your organisation.

So now your heads right, you’ve got your game face on and you’ve got the best coach money can buy let’s play ball right? Wrong. This is where most organisations fall flat and fail.  Why is that?

We’ll talk about that in our next article, Picking the Right Problem.

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