Big Data Maturity Model: Planning Your Strategy
Ninety percent of the total amount of information ever created in human history is less than two years old. And at the rate data is accumulating, that percentage is trending toward five nines. Studies show that in just a few years, we'll produce more than 40 times the information we generate today, and the number of devices connected to the Internet will quadruple to well over 20 billion devices.
In short, if data flowed like water, we'd all be looking for higher ground.
Is that a problem? Not necessarily. The rapid accumulation of data poses challenges for companies as they seek new strategies to capture and consume it, but the investment is more than worth the expense.
Recent studies show that the use of big data will contribute billions in value to industries over just the next few years. In healthcare, it's estimated that applying big data planning and techniques across the industry could reduce healthcare costs by up to $450 billion. That's small potatoes compared to manufacturing, where estimates project that big data could add $15 trillion to global GDP over the next two decades.
The opportunity big data presents comes at a time when the field itself is evolving rapidly. As a result, many companies are left to wonder whether they're taking the right steps to realize the most value from their investment and their data.
Five Big Data Maturity Model Measures
An effective big data capability is built on five maturity measures. These key characteristics can give a company a clear picture of how well its big data strategy initiative is progressing.
The first step is taking a look at your company's intent, which is a measurement of how effectively you convert your big data strategy into an actual plan. Intent considers how effective a company is at planning a strategy, setting a budget and executing on that plan to solve a business problem.
Technology poses a challenge for companies because the infrastructure investments required to ingest and process big data are beyond those of traditional systems.
Jim Kaskade, CSC’s current vice president and general manager of Big Data and Analytics, says there are many facets to evaluate. "You need to consider how appropriate a technology is for the application, the level of integration that's required, what kind of standards are needed, the level of performance required, and ultimately, the architecture."
The people aspect of big data must include three functional areas: technology, business and data science. Abigail Doolittle, a CSC partner and data scientist, says most companies have clearly defined technology and business roles. "There may be analytically minded people in those roles, but there isn't a distinct role for data science or advanced analytics within the business." With data scientists in short supply, Dr. Doolittle says that maturing companies will have to develop strategies to recruit and retain people with these key skills.
Big data maturity in terms of process covers a number of attributes. It includes collection, consolidation and analysis of data in the context of a business process," says Mark Danaher, director of Big Data and Analytics at CSC. "A process is mature and exploiting the potential of big data if it achieves a better outcome as part of a business process," he says.
Dipankar Bagchi, a platform consultant for Big Data and Analytics, says that the ability of any company to ingest the rising tide of unstructured data is an important tool to improve decision making. "To achieve this, companies must build a platform to join structured and unstructured data," Bagchi says. "They must also find people with the skills to map that data across all dimensions and make it available for predictive modeling, reporting or visualization."
Where Does Your Company Rank?
Understanding your company's maturity level in big data and advanced analytics is an important tool for sharpening your strategy, especially when you can compare your scores to benchmarks for companies in your industry.
CSC's Big Data and Analytics Assessment, built from IDC's comprehensive December 2013 report, “IDC Maturity Benchmark: Big Data and Analytics in North America,” measures a company's progress in these five key areas. The results will help an organization judge how it is benefiting from its big data investment, learn common best practices, and decide how it should prioritize technology, staffing and other key investment decisions.