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Addressing Big Data Implementation Challenges – Part 2

Kaustubh Patwardhan, Director I Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, Ashnik
Singapore, 15 Dec 2015

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In my last article, I discussed about some key challenges that I realized are more pertinent and wide spread in varied Big Data Strategy implementations. Those included having a relevant business case, misconception about “Big” in Big Data and Hadoop and confusion on choosing the right technology. In this sequel, I will be highlighting a few more challenges in the same context:

1)      Getting entangled in Data Governance

It is a well-known fact that the value of the data for any decision making or analytics will be jeopardized if data quality is poor and inaccurate. This can lead to misled decisions. Hence Data Governance has been put in place in most large organizations. And going forward, most organizations want to apply same Data Governance practice to Big Data projects. However, Big Data practice is still at its incipient stage. Big Data is such a new area that nobody has developed full-proof data governance policies and procedures yet. The most significant challenge in this case is classification, modelling and mapping of mostly the unstructured nature of the data.

Though data governance is must and should evolve, many organizations seem to lose sight of business priorities, and it results in an ‘all talk, no action’ due to the data governance problems. Organizations seem to waste time and resources on trying to plan on how to manage or control everything in unstructured data. As we saw in the last article, “Start Small, Think Big” should be applied to this issue as well, while taking a leap forward on the Big Data journey. As one speaker, during the panel discussion about Data Governance, rightly said “Start your Big Data journey first without worrying too much on Data Governance. Data Governance will follow”.

2)      Get organization wide support  

Big Data initiative cannot take place in isolation, it is not an IT initiative. Business teams and cross functional teams are involved as it would require change management approach with extensive communication effort – top-down, bottom-up and across the organization to make everybody ready for it. Before any implementation, it would require spending a considerable amount of time educating, evangelizing about Big Data Analytics and the benefits to all stakeholders, IT teams and executive sponsors. Any small win that has worked and given meaningful business outcome should get highlighted across the organization and every effort should be made to relate that in individual’s domain of activity. Only then, this Big Data initiative will find strong roots in an organization, or else it could just end up as another failed project.

3)      Dearth of right skill sets 

And last but not the least, many organizations are struggling to build the right team with right skill sets to implement Big Data Analytics use cases. Data Scientist, Data Engineer, Architect, Big Data Business Analyst are some of the key roles, organizations are trying to fill in. But the profiles are not easily found. In such cases, it is advisable if organizations can step up to leverage their existing resource pools and educate or train them. Finding the right people who will take up this within an organization will always be challenging.

As I have learnt through all my conversations with many CIOs, there is no single magic recipe for successful initiatives on Big Data and winning strategies for implementation. There can be many more challenges as one starts exploring Big Data journey. However, addressing challenges mentioned in this article and earlier is something basic that every organization should do before implementing a Big Data Strategy. Otherwise Big Data can possibly get lost somewhere as just another buzz word.

– Kaustubh Patwardhan, Director I Southeast Asia and Hong Kong, Ashnik

Kaustubh (KP) is the Head of Business Development and Strategy at Ashnik. His role comprises of heading Strategic Partnerships, Channels Management and Business Development for ASEAN. With his expansive experience in IT, he plays a pivotal role in strategic initiatives undertaken by Ashnik. Apart from his usual responsibilities at Ashnik, he is passionate about photography, cricket and other sports. He is also an enthusiastic participant in poetic circles and plays.


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