According to the 2014 IDG Enterprise Big Data survey, most large organizations today (almost 49% of survey respondents) claim to be well along the implementation path for big data initiatives and projects. Additionally, those large organizations are well ahead of their small and medium business (SMB) counterparts.
There are a number of reasons for the lag between large organizations and SMB. The larger organizations have the money to address most of the big data requirements while small and midsized organizations haven’t found any budget to kick off big data initiatives.
In addition to budgetary differences, the larger organizations have access to more people. Whether via consulting companies or outsourcing big data work, large companies can find the people they need to ‘do’ big data. In the world of the SMB, the ability to bring in new people just isn’t there. Even though large organizations have money to pay for more people, the IDG survey points at the difficulty of finding skilled people as one of the most difficult challenges facing organizations today.
For me, the ‘people’ aspect of big data is the largest problem facing any organization. We can throw money at the technology issues and we’ll eventually find the right solution for our problem, but we can’t always throw money at the people problem, mainly because it isn’t necessarily a ‘money’ issue today.
Sure, it will take money to hire and train people but before that hiring and training occurs, organizations need to find the ‘right’ person or people for their big data initiatives. To me, this levels the playing field a bit for the SMB. The SMB may not have the budget to hire consultants, buy the newest and fanciest big data solutions or use the ‘best’ hardware and systems on the market, but those things aren’t what big data is about. Big data is about finding insights and value in data, and what better way to do that then to find people who are interested in analytics and giving them access to the organization’s data and saying ‘go’.
Rather than pigeon-holing people into being ‘developers’ or ‘analysts’ or ‘solution specialists’, SMB’s can give their people the ability see all aspects of the big data lifecycle as well as all aspects of the business. The ‘people’ problem of big data is an area that SMB’s can win if they are a bit creative in their approach. They may not have the million dollar big data budgets, but SMB’s can bring more value to the people equation by giving more opportunities to people interested in big data.