Big Data Needs to Scale

Big Data Organizational Stack
If you think Big Data is about processing terabytes of data, gigabytes of data per hour, and a healthy mix of structured and unstructured data to get insights either algorithmically or from the relatively few talented data scientists, then you are missing the point.


Big Data Needs to Scale

What I mean by scale is, the tools, data and insights need to be available and presented in such a way that provide new intelligence deep into the organization and beyond the data scientist. Is your data being used to influence executive decision making? Is it being used to adjust operational priorities? Is it influencing product managers on what products to develop, features to prioritize, or marketing strategies to focus on? Is the average salesperson adjusting their sales pitch or prioritizing prospects differently based on all the data available? Is finance using data beyond financial benchmarks in their forecasts?

My first two posts on Big Data provide some of my insights. First, Big Data is not just about data management, e.g., volume, velocity, and variety of data. My post, Top Five Tools of Big Data Analytics covers tools such as visualization, predictive, data quality and master data management.

Big Data is a Big CIO Opportunity. First, the CIO has to make the right IT investments in data management requiring new technologies, talent and skills. Then the CIO needs to select and scale usage of an appropriate set of Big Data Analytic tools.

And then, the CIO needs to help Big Data scale and help the organization become more data driven.


A Significant Challenge

As I scan the media coverage and blog posts on Big Data, this challenge is largely ignored. Consider that every enterprise system - ERP, CRM has built in reporting and analytic capabilities. Think about all the capabilities in web analytics available to track sources of traffic, segment users, pipeline activity, and track goals. Consider all the reports developed in enterprise business intelligence systems,then consider adoption, usage, and maturity around these tools and analytics. How much of it is used? How much reporting is still done using Office apps and performed by spreadsheet jockeys?

As a CIO, I'm tasked to draw attention to problems, but also provide solutions. So more to come!


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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld,, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.