The 7 Stages Of Big Data Analytics That Every CIO Needs To Know About

by drjim on November 6, 2013

CIOs need to learn how to ride the tsunami of big data

CIOs need to learn how to ride the tsunami of big data
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CIOs have always had to find ways to deal with data. Collecting it, storing it, processing it, and eventually archiving it. The arrival of the era of Big Data has almost overnight turned what was already a challenging task into a nearly impossible task. Everyone in the company understands the importance of information technology and they all believe that the IT department can solve all data related problems. Now what is a CIO supposed to do in order to understand what all of this data is trying to tell him or her?

The Seven Steps To Getting Value Out Of Your Big Data

All too often the person in the CIO job thinks that there is some magical process to dealing with Big Data. They think that if they implement the right project, what will fall out of the other side is a set of analytical results that will be tailored for their business. Bad news – such a project does not exist.

Instead, what CIOs need to realize is that in order to get their hands around Big Data, they need to implement a series of 7 phases in order to gradually show their IT department how to deal with the flood of data that is arriving at the doors of the IT department. Here are the 7 phases:

  • Surprise!: This is the phase where the IT department starts to realize just exactly how much data is going to be coming their way. The implications of how they are going to both deal with and process this data are only now starting to be realized.
  • Data Vault: In this phase the IT department swings into action. Processes and systems are set up to take the data and find ways to both store and secure it. Once that is done, with no further processing the raw data is then made available to the departments and groups who need it in order to do further processing on it.
  • Q&A: In this phase, the IT department for the first time is able to process some of the data and start to answer questions about what happened in the past. This process is generally very manual and revolves around the creation of custom reports based on requests that come into the IT department.
  • Intelligence: This phase is most easily recognized by the arrival of so-called “executive dashboards”. However, what distinguishes it is that the reporting is now being automated and the presentation of the information is now being improved.
  • Predicting The Future: In this phase the IT department starts to be able to help the rest of the company to predict and anticipate changes in their operating conditions. This is accomplished through the use of statistical models and algorithms that are tuned to the data available and the environment in which the business operates.
  • Usage: In this phase, the knowledge coming out of the IT department is no longer just contained in a report. Instead, the information is being put to use when it becomes available. The information is starting to be used as a part of the company’s day-to-day operations.
  • Transformation: In the final phase, the analytical results from processing the data change the company from where it was into a more efficient company that relies on its IT department to show it how to better compete in its market and become more successful.

What All Of This Means For You

Just having a lot of data does a CIO no good. You need to understand how you are going to apply analytics to that data in order to extract the information that your business is going to need you to get for them.

Every IT department goes through a set of 7 phases as they come to grips with how they are going to deal with the arrival of Big Data. They progress from simply struggling to deal with the quantity of data that they are faced with to finding ways to use the data to transform the business.

People in the CIO position find themselves in a very interesting position: they are sitting on top of an incredibly valuable resource: all of the data that the company collects. Now they need to find ways to take action and by using analytics turn that data into knowledge that the company can use. By following the 7 step process that we’ve discussed, CIOs can conquer the Big Data beast and give the rest of the company what they are looking for from the IT department.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: As you move through the 7 steps, how can you keep the rest of the company informed about what you are doing?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

CIOs have since the beginning of time struggled to get the respect that the other C-level executives get. One of the big reasons that it can be so hard to get the IT department to be viewed by the rest of the company as being valuable is because all too often, despite the importance of information technology, the IT department is considered to be a cost center. What if a CIO could change this. What if the IT department could be transformed into a money maker – then finally the CIO would get the respect that he or she deserves. Now just exactly how to go about doing this…

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ruben Spekle November 8, 2013 at 9:52 am

Interesting journey into Big data, it’s very promising I think, and can really make the difference for companies. Although I miss one step: Hiring: Promoting or Hiring people who have the analytic skills to really get value from your data. I see that this normally asks for other skills than available at the IT-department. What’s your insight?

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drjim November 8, 2013 at 10:57 am

Ruben: You bring up a good point — right now the demand for people with good analytics skills exceeds the number of candidates out there! This means that CIOs are going to have to get creative: good math skills and good logical reasoning skills will do in a pinch. The people that you invite to join the IT department in order to work on Big Data don’t necessarily have to have an IT background these days…

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