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Set the Right Foundation for Big Data

So, how do you get started in your journey to creating the right environment so that you are ready to both experiment with big data and be prepared to expand your use of big data when you are ready? Will you have to invest in new technologies for your data center? Can you leverage cloud computing services? The answer to these questions is yes.

You will have to make changes to support big data. First, you need to make sure that you understand the various types of data that are important to your organization. You also need to understand the new types of data management environments that are available. Each of these new options could be helpful in different types of situations.

For example, if you need to process data quickly, you might want to evaluate in-memory databases. If you have a lot of data that needs to be processed in real time, streaming data offerings are worth evaluating. Many different products can handle spatial data.

In addition, you will want to evaluate the cloud-based offerings that allow you to store massive amounts of information inexpensively. Several cloud-based analytics services are changing the way that companies can access and use complicated tools that were never affordable in the past.

While clearly a huge amount of technology is involved in building your big data strategy, you have to get started by building the right team of individuals with both technical and business knowledge. You will need business leaders who are involved in planning the strategy for the next generation. You need to understand the types of answers that they are looking for and the types of questions they are asking.

Therefore, the best way to get started is to build a team. You may want to involve consultants who have experience working on big data implementations and can help you with best practices. You should understand that at this stage in the industry, you would be working with low-level tools that typically involve a lot of programming.

As new tools emerge, you should continue to experiment to take advantage of innovations. In some cases, you will discover that vendors and consultants have packaged best practices into product offerings that can be customized for your markets and your business model.

But to take advantage of the emerging technologies, it is important that you focus on the basics. You need to make sure that after you select the right data elements for your analysis, that it all makes sense. You have to be able to trust the data so that you minimize the risks.

Each new data source will have its own structure. These sources may not be well-vetted. So, before these sources are brought into an analytics framework, you will have to make sure that metadata is consistent.

Getting started will mean taking things slowly. Most organizations do not jump in and start doing full-fledged, corporate-wide big data analytics. Rather, most companies continue to progress with the analytics they have always been doing. However, they are adding pilot projects or planning to add pilots based on areas where the business needs to leverage new types of data at greater speed than ever before.

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