If you ask a CEO about Big Data they are more likely to describe it as a business challenge, rather than a technology issue. They will also tell you  that gleaning insights and creating value from data is not something that can simply be handed over to IT. It requires new hybrid teams and the addition of new roles of tech professionals that understand the business, as well as how and where to find the data. It is nearly impossible to completely align your IT and business teams to accomplish this; so often new teams must be brought in. But despite the realized value of data, most companies are not ready for it. 85% of 250 surveyed companies said they will require substantial investments to update their existing data platforms. This, leading to 59% of companies and their CIOs believing that they lack the capabilities to generate meaningful business insight from their data. CIOs and other executives, alike seem to agree that data is something that needs to be invested in and improved. Technology executives understand that they have a far way to go…so what is preventing them from getting started? Division of IT and Business IT may not always know where the business value resides in the data, and executives on the business side may not understand the intricacies of data storage and management. This disconnect can have very expensive consequences if the business and IT make “data decisions” without a genuine understanding of one another’s perspective. This can also be a reason why many perceive data solutions to be so expensive. Putting Data Into the Right People’s Hands Thus far, in the history of business, IT has focused on how and where to store data (and how to keep it secure). But storing and managing access rights to data doesn’t yield value. The value of company data comes from putting the insights from the data into the hands of business people. Ancient Processes No Longer Handle the Businesses’ Needs  Data warehouses once represented the centerpiece of the IT organization, protecting the company’s most valuable data, and restricting access to just a select few. But this data model doesn’t work in our digital age where companies’ employees need access to the data in order to make discoveries, to enable better decision making. This is why cloud-based infrastructures have been on the rise. They work for on-premise systems, can be scaled up and provisioned on-demand. But also keep in mind that traditional IT is not the same as a data team. IT professionals are not data scientists. You can turn an IT team into a data team, but only with special training. Certain types of data scientists are skilled with certain things; your team should have someone that can collect and clean the data, someone that knows how to gather the data from all of your disparate sources, someone that can work with an manage your software and tools (such as a data visualization software), and someone that can analyze very large data sets, in order to get the most out of your data. As you can imagine, this gets costly. Luckily, there are new services that are popping up everywhere to help you accomplish all of the above, without the hefty price tag.    

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