Big Data needs a Big Lever

While the rest of the world is focused on volume, velocity and variety, Big Data has a real challenge that is larger than distributed storage and processing and larger than sources and types of data. It has a problem I’ll call the Big Lever. Put another way, “What do you do once you think you’ve engineered something meaningful? How will you pull the ‘business lever’?

Big Lever

Without the Big Lever, there’s significant risk to Big Data projects that put too much time and focus on the latest whiz bang technology and not enough on the end-to-end ecosystem that supports business value. Not surprising when you consider that the non-whiz bang isn’t exciting or trending on twitter.

The parts of the ecosystem at risk of being ignored include:

  • People – Have we staffed and trained the people necessary to keep a system running once up? Do we have people scheduled to work when the solution needs support? Who will be adversely affected by new ways of doing business?
  • Process – Is the organization geared up to use better or new information differently? Have we looked at what work will change? Will we put new information in the hands of a Marketing group that hasn’t decided what to do about it? Do we have a plan for what to do when things don’t work as planned?
  • Systems –  Can the network scale to handle data movements? Do we have a way to keep data ‘fresh’ and reliable? Do we have ways to modify the solution as necessary? Do we know the triggers?
  • Security– Have we made sure that users of a Big Data solution don’t gain access to data they wouldn’t have otherwise had? What is our strategy if this happens?

Each of these is a significant part of a solution whether you call it Big Data or Data Analytics and can’t be ignored.

John West of Fabless Labs puts it well in 10 Gotchas of Big Data. In the fun and excitement of new technologies, there are lots of traditional ways of managing change that can’t be forgotten.


Categories: Data Analytics / Big Data, Disciplines

Author:Jeanne Roué-Taylor

I'm fascinated by disruptive technology and its impact on our world. I manage sales operations for an excellent startup with a unique team of highly experienced data scientists.

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2 Comments on “Big Data needs a Big Lever”

  1. Jeanne Roué-Taylor
    May 31, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    Reblogged this on Fabless Labs.


  1. Death to the Peter Principle | Successful Workplace - June 13, 2012

    […] and customers, analytics to interpret what it means and discover patterns, ways of pulling the big lever at the right moments, and tools to collaborate across a smart, adaptive workforce. There’s no […]

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