Skip to main content

Data expert: Rethink management as volume grows

Rachel Wheeler Archive
The chorus from technology leaders has become undeniable in recent months. Managing big data is significantly different from manipulating structured databases. This doesn't mean companies have to change their entire organizational structures but does imply that leaders will have to pay attention to management processes going forward, as big data is becoming ubiquitous. Everything from acceptable data quality to proper methods of analytics has shifted.

Reassessment on the way
Information Management contributor Jim Harris recently noted that others in the industry, including his fellow columnist Malcolm Chisholm, have cleaved the data world into two categories. They now consider unstructured figures a completely separate area from the classic type of information that can be stored in relational databases. Harris agreed with the general premise and that companies will have to split their data management practices to suit various types of information.

Harris also offered his own take on management processes, explaining that data quality is not an outdated concept, as some have posited. While it is more difficult to measure and change the integrity of big data, especially when companies collect figures at high velocity, there are still ways to approach it. He did qualify this, however, by stating that companies will now have to choose how much to work on data to prepare it for different roles.

Too much traditional thinking could be a burden in the big data age. Harris explained that IT leaders should abandon their defenses of the classic view of data management. As the nature of information has changed drastically, the old benchmarks might now be impossible to achieve or unnecessary to follow. He stated that analytics will also likely shift to accommodate new ways of thinking and sources of insight. While a deep dive into the data may once have been the proper approach, a surface-level examination may suit big figures better.

Natural evolution
A TechAmerica Foundation report intended to survey the U.S. government's readiness for big data returned findings that may be heartening for corporate leaders. The organization found that big data does not require a dramatic reassessment of tech department orthodoxy. In fact, the researchers found that agencies were largely able to progress gradually and build big data support systems on top of their existing databases. No matter what the future of information management may bring, it seems it can comfortably coexist within the context IT leaders have already put in place.