A Successful Approach to the Big Data Adoption Journey

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journeyby Angela Guess

Randy Bean recently wrote in the Wall Street Journal, “Big Data represents a business adoption paradox: It promises speed, but successful business adoption takes time. When I advise executives or speak to business groups, I encourage organizations to view business transforming initiatives like Big Data as a journey. Success ultimately depends upon organizational alignment, process change, and people. Organizations need to develop a long-term plan and destination with many checkpoints along the way. True there are opportunities for “quick wins”– to ensure credibility, build organizational support, establish momentum, and secure funding—but for the most part, patience and persistence are essential.”

Bean goes on, “The challenge is that technology transformations come with great promise and excitement, which often lead to impatience and insistence on immediate results. Big Data brings big expectations. For some organizations, an appreciation for data is already in their DNA and adoption is easier.  But most organizations that aspire to a data culture lack a strong data tradition. These firms will face an uphill battle as they embark on a transformation in the hope of establishing a lasting foundation for data discipline.”

He adds, “The adoption of data and analytics in professional sports provides an illustrative example. Not too long ago, proponents of data analysis and statistical techniques had to overcome the skepticism of sports executives and field managers. But as professional sports teams employed new data-driven techniques, and won as a result, the old guard came to appreciate the value of embedding data into decision-making processes on the field and in player selection and development. Who ever heard of a ‘pitch count’ before data analytics? This is the kind of transformation, and accompanying shift in mindset, that assumes the form of a journey that plays out over years.”

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photo credit: Flickr/ h.koppdelaney

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