Essential Checklist for Managing Accidental Big Data

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Are you and your teams trying to manage data using Microsoft Excel spreadsheets? Are your systems out of date? Does your data live across different databases?
These are all symptoms of Accidental Big Data.

What is Accidental Big Data?

Accidental Big Data occurs when you start a process, database, or collection of information that balloons over time. The data that was once manageable has exploded beyond the scope of your organization’s abilities.

There’s no shame in admitting you’re a victim of accidental big data. For some small businesses, these bootstrapped processes are necessary until there are enough customers, employees, and resources to create a better system.

But as businesses expand, these workarounds are not sustainable.

For example, the Big Data industry escalated from $169 billion in 2018 to $274 billion in 2022—a 62 percent increase.

Big Success Creates Big Data

First, pat yourself on the back. You’re at this crossroad because the business is flourishing, you’re landing new customers, and strengthening your team.

However, with success comes multiplied data. Your burgeoning customer base and activities are creating a massive influx of information.

Fortunately, the cost of storage and hardware have dropped, making it possible to have more and more data at your fingertips. Deploying a ready-made database management system (DBMS) or developing a customized solution for your organization is now easier than ever.

Here’s a checklist to help you get control of accidental big data:

  • Understand the value of the information. While the sheer volume of data can be overwhelming to a growing organization, it’s equally difficult to decipher the value of the information they’re sitting on. Think about the colossal amount of data in a retailer’s loyalty program or healthcare system’s patient database. If you’re relying on a data supplier, you’re only as good as the data you can receive. Make certain you’re working with a data management and consulting firm that clearly understands your organization’s goals. They will partner with you to organize your existing customer information and supplement with new data to support your marketing and sales programs.
  • Research available database management systems or custom-built solution. There were an estimated 343 databases in the marketplace in 2021, according to Towards Data Science.2 With the rise of microservices, cloud, semi-structured data, big data, fast data, and low latency data, the traditional SQL (structured query language) databases are now joined by NoSQL, NewSQL, and cloud databases. These new technologies have opened the floodgates to even more DBMS offerings. Turn to a trusted data consultant to assist you in narrowing down the available options, including the must-have features your organization needs. A full-service data partner can also support you with customizing a solution that supports your existing processes, plus grow with you as your organization’s needs evolve.
  • Get management buy-in. Armed with the necessary information for the best-fit DBMS and other data consulting needs, state your case to your executive team so that it clearly relates to the business. Make certain you spotlight the benefits for making the investment now to support the continued expansion and resilience of your business. Leading data management consultants will offer to support you in creating the business case and developing the presentation to your executives and stakeholders.
  • Translate between your needs and developers. Make certain your data consultant speaks the language of your users, in addition to the data programmer’s lingo. While conversing in terms your colleagues understand and accommodating the needs of your users will probably lengthen the development process, you are more likely to arrive at an end product your teams will benefit from and actually use. Focus on a DBMS development project that contains small, achievable milestones rather than having one ultimate goal established way off in the distance. Prioritize your problems and address each concern one at a time.
  • Win over your users. Change—even a good change—is difficult for everyone. The key to winning over your users is to find ways to incorporate the tools they are accustomed to using in your new DBMS. Don’t kill the programs that make your colleagues comfortable. For example, if your team relies heavily on Excel, find a way to integrate their familiar spreadsheets into your plans. Do not overwhelm users with too much new information all at once. During the training and onboarding, schedule the upgrades to provide sips of data rather than large gulps. Remember your executives will be new users, too. Take small steps in introducing new business intelligence and data access capabilities. Showing incremental gains assists in keeping momentum going.

By using this essential checklist, you’ll overcome accidental big data. Partnering with a data management consultant will make the transition to a new DBMS smoother and easier. Working together, you’ll improve information exchange, data-driven decision making, and reporting.

Sources:

  1. The Ultimate List of Big Data Statistics (2022),” Josh Howarth, Exploding Topics
  2. Top 10 Databases to Use in 2021,” Md Kamaruzzaman, Towards Data Science

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About Author

Bill Skelly is CEO of Causeway Solutions, a leading provider of Acquisition Analytics and innovative data services. Causeway Solutions empowers clients to make smart, timely, data-driven decisions through real-time consumer insights to better reach target audiences.