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Big Data? Master Managing your own Data First

As noted, Big Data and Predictive Analytics is a hot topic today.  Many large companies, especially, retailers and consumer goods companies have viable programs to take advantage of the ever increasing amounts of data streaming real time and accumulating in data bases.  Combining this internal, transactional, data with outsides data feeds, or streams as they are sometimes called, provides incredible, mind boggling, amounts of data the could be used to make better decisions to optimize performance.  These decisions could range from optimizing product offerings and assortments to particular customer segments to ensuring that materials and service are bought at the best prices.  With the ever increasing amounts and types of data streams available, the possible applications seems endless.

There is some fundamentals that have to be in place however.  Before one excel at or even think about Big Data and the Predictive Analytics, one hasto be very good at basic data.  It is quite simple.  The transactional data and information in the company ERP needs to be

  1. As accurate and up to date as possible

  2. Utilized effectively  to generate performance indicators, analysis, and forecasts to manage and run the business.

Without the above above two prerequisites are necessary before one can even think about incorporating outside data sources.  If this is not mastered, any foray into Big Data and Predictive Analytics will simply be a waste of time and money.

Companies that are known for Big Data in the automotive, consumer goods, and retail sectors, are also the companies that first implemented ERP systems like SAP and Oracle.  These were also the first companies to have to deal with data integrity and management in an organized and disciplined manner.  Small companies are, in general, behind the larger multinationals in this regard.  

This distinction was clear at the last year’s Oracle Big Data Event in Chicago and in all other strategic presentations on Big Data and Predictive Analytics.  The future possibilities are amazing.  The vast amounts of data that is and will be available is incredible.  The ability to manipulate large data bases is easier and more nimble than ever.  The smartest folks working in this area are promising amazing capabilities for managing.  The promised land includes concepts like Cognitive Systems and Big Data Analytic Ecosystems.  

These concepts sound great in presentations at conferences but are most likely behind what 80% of the companies are capable of doing right now.  Most of the companies we work with are not fully utilizing the data they have.  They have invested in some ERP system and using the system, generally well, to execute the day to day business.  For many companies we see, it stops there.  They are not really tending and mining the data they have.  They are not taking advantage of the data that they are responsible for, the data that they own, the data that defines their business.  Before worrying about using outside data streams and going bigger, it is imperative to be using one’s own data to the greatest and most effective extent..  When we talk to people at Big Data Conferences and ask what level they are working at, almost everyone is working only with their their own data.  Only the cutting edge companies are looking at outside data streams.  This will no doubt change quickly in the next few quickly.  

Where to start with Big Data?   Begin with this basic blocking and tackling of fully and effectively using one’s own ERP data before looking at outside data sources and other Big Data and Analytic methods.  Make sure sound data management processes are reliably in place.  Create power users who can then mine that data for General Management, Marketing, Sales, Supply Chain, HR, and Finance.  Once on this  road to mastering the basics, then start looking at outside data streams and maybe dabbling in cognitive algorithms.

Basic blocking and tackling:  we can help you achieve that.


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