10 years ago

How to Overcome Big Data Cultural Barriers

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Big data and its attendant technologies are here to stay.

Data is one of the highest value assets in your business. Particularly now when big data is on the rise and heavily relied on to market your products and services.

An increasing number of companies are investing in data analytics capabilities and other business intelligence (BI) tools to empower all areas of their organization, such as sales, marketing and B2C transactions.

If your business is beginning to utilize the huge amounts of raw data your organization collects on a regular basis, then you will have found out that not everything about having the best information at your fingertips is a long smooth ride. Like all beneficial technology that comes your way to boost your enterprise, there are a few roadblocks you will have to hurdle. Among these are the cultural barriers you will face.

Acceptance is the key

Most cultural barriers that impede the implementation of big data for your organization mostly relate to your existing business and IT culture. Acceptance of data analytics insights can prove to be a huge challenge for your organization if you’re bent on utilizing big data to bring your company up to speed and to drive a more optimal competitive advantage.

Many organizations still struggle with applying these insights. This is particularly difficult if your employees don’t see how big data analytics can change the way they make decisions. This is predominantly true if your people are front-line marketing and sales hardliners who have been making decisions based on gut feel for quite some time. Issue them an analytical driver on which to base customer handling protocols and you may find some resistance on their part.

This cultural mindset is exacerbated by “information hoarding”, where different departments of your business: operations, marketing, sales, finance and other business units maintain their own information sources without sharing them with the rest of your organization. Whether this stems from internal politics or because this is the way it has always been done, this practice only creates bottlenecks in your business processes. It limits your employees’ abilities to view all this data as potentially useful for the entire enterprise.

These cultural barriers may make you feel like changing your whole business operations model to integrate big data analytics to deliver crucial information across your entire organization – and not as a standalone function to be regarded with suspicion by your people, or to be kept close under “lock and key” within different departments.

Think differently

Instead of viewing big data analytics and the BI solutions used to harvest insights from them as impostors, you will need to train your whole organization to think of them as products. And these products should be seen as assets that provide constant high quality access to valuable insights from your huge collection of data.

Big data and its attendant technologies are here to stay. While it may take some convincing and some remarkable results to win your whole organization over and segue them from their use of traditional data sources and project-centric approaches, you’ll eventually come to a point where your people will be utilizing insights from readily accessed data, understand these insights and rely on data analytics drivers to power their decisions for the good of the entire organization.

Photo courtesy of visualpun.ch.

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