The term “big data” is part of virtually every business leader’s vernacular, or at least it is for those who desire a sharper competitive edge, increased profitability and bolstered brand awareness. Even Oscar predictions are being churned out using hard-hitting, quantitative data. If you’re wondering, many of the forecasts were correct. PredictWise, for instance, calculated that “Birdman” would be twice as likely to win best picture as “Boyhood” (66.8 percent to 32 percent)—and the dark comedy did win.


Although the world of big data is spilling into all sorts of exciting areas—like the arts, as evidenced above—the process of using data for improving business process and performance methods remains at the heart of the trend. Within enterprises, big data has proven itself invaluable for strengthening nearly any organizational objective, from improving sales strategies to marketing campaigns, to customer service techniques, to hiring and training. In fact, research shows that business analytics has been identified as a top area of IT spending for companies in 2015.


With business processes becoming more digitally driven and customers consuming, sharing and creating more data than ever, the need for a strong big data strategy has become a must. You don’t want to fall behind in this area. Toward this end, take heed if your enterprise shows any of the following five warning signs that your strategy might be lacking:


  1. You haven’t prioritized the ‘what’ over the ‘why’: Just because you’re collecting data doesn’t mean you’re leveraging it to make actionable business improvements. Remember: The goal of collecting big data is to see long-term organizational success. If your big data strategy has no “why” behind it, or no determined business outcome, then you will likely struggle to make it work.
  2. You’re focusing only on ‘big’ data: This may sound counterintuitive—after all, there is a reason why they call it “big data”—but your strategy might be lackluster if you ignore the importance of the small data at your company’s disposal. When companies don’t have the time or stamina to dig into the granularities of their data to see how small tweaks can be made for better overall improvement, they cannot optimally reap the rewards of data analytics.
  3. You’re not giving it your all: It may seem basic and self-explanatory, but we would be remiss in ignoring this crucial point. If you decide to kick off a big data strategy, you must ensure it is nurtured over a significant period of time. The level of commitment, of course, will depend on the organizational improvements you are looking to make with big data. Regardless, you must ensure you are truly giving your strategy your all; otherwise, you may want to re-evaluate whether you have the staying power in-house to do so.
  4. You lack the necessary tools or in-house support: To this point, you may find that your big data strategy needs improvement simply because you don’t have the time to commit to it. Your team is likely being pulled in multiple directions, causing your once exciting big data strategy to become nothing more than an afterthought a couple months after implementation.


Big data isn’t something that you can hop right into and expect results. It takes concerted effort and ongoing work that, depending on the situation, may require assistance from an outside expert. Who knows—perhaps you could benefit from the support of an expert team of business intelligence analysts. If you want to learn more about improving your big data strategy, click here to read up on how to better align your big data and mobile application strategies.