Overcoming Obstacles to Adopting Big Data Initiatives

October 12, 2017

Overcoming Obstacles to Adopting Big Data Initiatives

3 Minute Read

Big data is proving to be transformational for the companies that know how to access insights and apply them to their business.

Richard Arthurs
Richard Arthurs, CPA, CMA, MBA, CFE, CIA, CRMA, QIAL
Partner, National Leader - Internal Audit
Big data is proving to be transformational for the companies that know how to access insights and apply them to their business. The recent New Vantage Partners Big Data Executive Survey 2017 reported 48 percent of company executives undertaking new projects are seeing measurable results from their investments.
  • While a remarkable 81 percent of executives characterized their Big Data investments as successful and 21 percent described them as transformational, other businesses are reporting barriers getting in the way of success.
  • 53 percent of executives reported organizational issues have prevented them from fully adopting data analytic initials.
  • 30 percent cited a lack of a coherent data strategy.
  • Another study reveals that 59 percent of businesses are unable to generate meaningful insights from their data initiatives.

What’s Getting in the Way?

In the past, big data and data analytics tools were only available to large multi-national corporations. Prohibitive costs and a lack of access to technology were once insurmountable barriers to implementing big data analytics. Fortunately, costs have dramatically declined and technology has improved exponentially in the last decade. However, out-dated thinking and a dearth of management level support continue to prevent companies from adopting this transformative approach to business.

The most common barriers, which include organizational misalignment, business and / or technology resistance and lack of middle management adoption, all point to problems with corporate culture.

The resistance may be attributed to the lack of a clear vision for how the data analytics can help achieve corporate objectives. A clear strategic approach that demonstrates how data initiatives can validate and advance strategic plans can be a powerful tool for overcoming objectives.

Start with Small Projects and Quick Wins

In its recent Predictive Analytics Survey, Protiviti found that executive buy in, approval or acceptance ranked as one of the most important factors that inhibited predictive modeling and analytic capabilities.

Implementing successful initiatives is often the best way to win support and move to the next level of data analytic maturity. By starting with small, manageable initiatives, companies are more likely to see success in their early forays into data analytics. Projects that are too large and complex are more likely to lead to frustration with indecipherable insights and unusable results.

The quick wins associated with smaller projects are more likely to capture the attention of executives, as long as their expectations are managed. A champion who works with the executive team and can manage those expectations should be a key member of the project team. Their role is to communicate about the project with reports on progress and results, and can explain how these early, small successes can benefit the company in the long term.

It’s All About the Data

The integrity of the data will ultimately determine the success of a project. If the data comes from a questionable source and can’t be trusted, the insights won’t be useable. Access is another issue. If the organization has not been able to collect information or must abide by privacy regulations that prevent the use of the data, the task of data analysis becomes more difficult and may need to rely on purchasing third party data. Access, availability and integrity are the three data issues that must be resolved before a project begins or there’s any investment in tools or resources.

Big data and data analysis offers the potential for fascinating discoveries and huge opportunities for any organization, regardless of its size. Taking a few strategic steps to gather the right information and proceed with pilot programs that yield results can help overcome the barriers that stand in the way of adopting this new and exciting tool for business.

Tomorrow’s technology is shaping business today. To learn more about how MNP can help you can make data analytics work for you, contact Richard Arthurs, National Leader – Data and Information Dynamics at 587.702.5978 or [email protected].


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