The three roadblocks to big data success

Three roadblocks to big data successAnne Fisher just published a nice piece titled “Why Big Data Isn’t Paying Off for Companies (Yet)” where she describes research from the American Institute of CPA’s (AICPA) regarding big data initiatives within organizations around the world. You can jump over to the study itself but Anne does a very good job describing the findings in her article.

One of the key findings from that study is that here are three main roadblocks to big data success. They are:

  • Being in too big of a hurry
  • Trying to start too ‘big’
  • Not incorporating corporate culture into big data initiatives

In my work with clients on big data, that third roadblock is the one that tends to cause the most problems.  Sure, many companies want to through big data at all their problems (or is it throw all their problems at big data?) but it doesn’t take long for them to realize they need to start small and go slow to make sure they know what they’re doing within the big data world.

Roadblock #3 is the one that gets most companies into trouble, especially those that are very bureaucratic.  These bureaucratic companies tend to attract people that like to hold onto information because it makes them feel more ‘powerful’ or in control.  If you implement big data systems and processes correctly, your organization should become much more information rich, which is something that bureaucrats don’t really like.  Therefore, it is imperative to big data success that organizations remove the bureaucrats and bring in a more open, sharing culture.  Fisher and the AICPA agree:

Busting up the bureaucracy, so information can flow quickly to the right people, requires a kind of manager that the AICPA study refers to as “integrative thinkers.” The relatively few organizations that are making profitable use of big data have hired or cultivated executives Thomas describes as “collaborative leaders who can see horizontally across their whole organization and connect the dots.”

Are you thinking about corporate culture in your big data initiatives?