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Big Data #10: Don’t Fear Experimenting

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Many corporations fail to play with big data after making so much investments. The market dynamics and the competition points them to big data analytics but often they cannot reap the benefits for the fear of “something may happen.” What I would suggest is to throw themselves deep in the water and experiment with big data, not play with the sand at the shore.

The organization needs to experiment rapidly and try to discover what works best in order to make most out of big data. To make it a decision making process it is imperative to embrace it, rather than to look at it as a magical forest and believing that only people who know certain spells can enter it. Otherwise your whole investment will be a money sucker with almost no return.

The first and the foremost thing big data brings you is the wealth of options to explore. You have real time, high-variety data streams which is excellent for making a lot of experiments. You can make a lot of analyses such as product/service, market, process just to name a few; product to market, process to product are the immediate ones that comes to my mind. Make a lot of analyses, a lot of experiments without losing your common sense.

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In order to come up with a lot of analyses is to allow the individuals to come up with ideas. Establish multiple teams working with different ideas and establish meetings so that the teams come together and sparkle ideas. Offer incentives to the staff to come up with ideas. In a very short amount of time you will see a lot of ideas pouring down to your big data team. Put the ideas to work in your big data and see what results it produces. Expect magic. It will happen anytime.

The second thing is to analyze your own processes, your own experiments. Take your time and analyze how much time does your company need to introduce a product to the market, from the idea to the shelves (same goes for a service, from the idea to the market delivery). See what points the system is stuck. In many cases you will see that the process waits a considerable amount of time for data collection to begin. See if you can incorporate this data from the big data warehouse. If not, try to integrate your big data with the other applications used in your company – ERP and CRM systems are the first to consider. Not only you will reduce the time to gather data, but also you will embrace big data, make it a part of your company’s information infrastructure. In turn, you will be able to outpace your competitors.

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The worst way to utilize your big data is to work with it in just one dimension. Try to figure out how to make analyses from various viewpoints. Map your products, your customer base, your services and figure out if there are gaps, if there are, how to fill them. See where your products need customer loyalty and to what degree. How can you build customer loyalty with your services, what investments should be made to build long-term loyalty and what are the expected returns? What do the results mean in terms of competition? Are the results in line with what your sales team bring from the market?

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How to accomplish all those together? Well, I would start by forming teams, talk with them about the objectives, ask them to be creative, tell them that the company’s big data investment is at their service to experiment. In a short amount of time idea sparkles will fire innovation, in turn your big data system will flood with creative ideas. Next, these ideas will turn into products, services and customer loyalties.

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