Big-data success entails a close relationship between IT and business-department managers, working together to allow employees to access, manipulate, and understand the gigabytes of information now under their control. It also requires equipping businesses with the tools needed to manage and integrate information, liberating IT from basic data-management tasks.
To work best, business departments must drive big-data implementations. These are, after all, the groups within an enterprise that are going to use the information collected in multiple formats, from various sources, to create actionable decisions. While IT is the engine, business managers are the drivers. Big-data can't flourish without both parties working together.
With IT's guidance, business users need the same type of dashboards and integration tools that datacenters have used for years. In this case, of course, they're overseeing information, not networks.
The organizations that are truly taking advantage of big-data and analytics are 60 percent more likely than their peers to have business users that can tailor reports, dashboards, and analytics without the assistance of IT, according to a study by the Aberdeen Group. In fact, when it comes to big-data, self-service analytics is much less pervasive among enterprises that use "small data," the research firm found.
In an April 2012 study, 78 percent of polled organizations that analyzed big-data allowed business users to drill down into detail, compared with 59 percent involved in small-data. Likewise, 56 percent of business users with access to big-data tailored reports on dashboards, versus 35 percent who had the same controls in small-data situations. Half the big-data business users combined their own data with corporate data, whereas only one-third of small-data business users had this capability, the report determined.
Empowering business users has far-reaching effects, a later study said.
Data collected for Aberdeen's June 2012 research into agile integration found that the average time required for an IT specialist to integrate a new data source for analytics is 28 days. If business managers are able to perform their own integration in certain circumstances the total time required to perform integration can be drastically reduced. Organizations that enabled analytics users to undertake their own data integration were able to complete integration tasks in an average of just seven days.
That's one-fourth the time it would have previously taken, relying on IT. That's time IT can spend on other, more complex tasks, while business users not only meld data, but review information as it's integrated, potentially uncovering interesting or new trends in the process.
When implementing big-data, it's important to place business users in the driver's seat -- with IT securely in the co-pilot position.
— Alison Diana , ThinkerNet Editor, Internet Evolution