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Business goals must align with big data capabilities to win

Rachel Wheeler Archive
It's been predicted that 2012 could be the year that big data takes off, and this seems to be the case as companies rush into adoption plans, chasing the promise of advanced analytics that will yield higher profit margins. Unfortunately, as trendy as big data has become, companies won't necessarily see the results they are hoping for if their goals aren't compatible with big data's capabilities, Forbes notes.

Too much data, not enough planning

One of the problems many companies are facing is too much data. This may seem counterintuitive, given the name of this hot new strategy, but big data is best utilized when companies pare down their plans and focus on a few main goals.

Forbes explains that if businesses know what they are really looking for, be it the best place to install a point-of-sale terminal or the type of customer most likely to convert online - they can probably find that golden nugget of information through big data. General inquiries about how to improve performance, on the other hand, may lead to a misdirected campaign and money down the drain.

Teams rushing in to gain competitive edge

As this tactic has produced valuable results, many companies have pushed plans forward prematurely, so as not to be left behind by competitors. Yet, many are still uncertain about the best ways to apply or interpret the information. A recent poll by SourceLink found that marketers are struggling with three challenges surrounding their data strategies: 28 percent are unsure how the data applies to marketing, 27 percent don't know how to personalize campaigns and 20 percent aren't convinced they have enough data.

Often, businesses do have enough data, but they do not have the correct tools in place to organize their storage systems and check the data quality.

Siloed departments must meld strengths to reach goals

Problems can also arise if a company is trying to reach goals and recognize results with compartmentalized teams. This may have worked in the past, but in the era of big data, IT, sales and marketing all need to get their hands on the same information to generate actionable insight. Sometimes, businesses need to adjust their philosophies to accommodate the scope of big data, according to Tech Republic. They may need to stop approaching the analytics as a strictly technical solution, since it is essentially marrying the instinctual and qualitative aspects of decision making.