Nowadays business professionals have access to a vast variety of technologies and sources of information. Big data is growing fast as organizations devote technology resources to tapping the terabytes of data flowing into their organizations and externally in social media. Thus, a major challenge has come up recently: how to leverage Big Data analytics and improve business performance by using current Business Intelligence (BI) practices?
The current thinking around big data and business intelligence tends to be built around a very simplistic model. You acquire lots of data, in all kinds of formats, from a myriad of sources, apply some business intelligence and get your answer to the above question. However, executives thinking that a big data dive is all they need to exploit conclusions are mistaken. While big data might be getting ahead of itself in enterprise promises, you need to think about the skills you have in your company and develop the relevant data skills to adapt to this new model. At the same time, BI kills the need to develop, administer and analyze this huge amount of corporate data. Therefore, big data and BI can be integrated within the business context for better, faster decision making.
Keep in mind, though, big data can make or break a company. Integrating advanced analytics for big data with business intelligence systems is an important step toward gaining full return on investment. That is, BI systems and advanced analytics can be highly complementary; the latter can provide the deeper, exploratory perspective on the data, while BI systems provide a more structured user experience. In addition, BI systems’ richness in data visualization and reporting can be vital to making advanced analytics actionable.
The first step to understanding big data is collecting all of your data into powerful, integrated solutions. The second step is to identify correlations with your data to make improvements in your operations and find new opportunities.
At the end of the day, while big data is a hot term, it doesn't mean much unless you can complement it with BI systems and expand its power. Thus, big data can be very helpful if you can wade through it to obtain meaning, i.e. it always has to make sense. It's not enough to gather accurate and timely data. Professionals need powerful and user friendly BI analysis tools to help them understand context and trends. You need to focus on evolving your BI approaches and integrate them with big data analytics to fuel faster and more accurate decision making. In this way, you will be able to gain a competitive advantage by understanding how big data can supplement the outcomes already achieved through “traditional” BI.
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