Skip to main content

Data management in the spotlight

Richard Jones Archive
Big data is all about new ways to use internal and external resources. It is not, however, strictly related to analytics. According to ZDNet contributor Lori MacVittie, the actual challenges companies will face could come from the way they store and amass information. The traditional data warehouses were created with very different facts in mind. For example, data quality was once a simple matter of cleansing structured figures, wherein users could often tell what type of information belonged in a given system and how it was supposed to look. This has changed.

New questions
The role of data in businesses includes a high spot on the priority list, according to MacVittie. She stated that companies need to raise the profile of big data within the infrastructure. Leaders may have to step back and take stock of the way things are currently done. While large-scale changes may be intimidating, they represent the drastic difference between unstructured and structured data. As the new approach could have huge consequences for companies' agility and effectiveness, asking the questions is vital.

Data management systems must now scale smoothly and reliably. MacVittie said businesses should look for steadiness in systems when building in new capabilities, as delays and hangups in data systems can affect a wide variety of users negatively. Performance, even as companies introduce new silos into calculations, is an important consideration. The ability to tap into multiple departments' data simultaneously, or even reach outside of corporate walls to retrieve information, is a central principle of the new status quo.

Data warehousing is not dead, in MacVittie's view, but it will have to evolve with the rest of a company's systems. Keeping it the same will lead to information stuck in departmental silos and its complete abandonment could lead to confusion and poor results.

False confidence
According to a recent InformationWeek survey, company leaders may have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the performance of their information stores. The source cited a general lack of programs and employee groups meant to make sure data is used correctly as evidence that the confidence in the programs may be incorrect. For example, dedicated stewardship roles are rarely among the top information users in companies' infrastructures. Without such employees, the news provider remained dubious regarding accuracy of internal and external figures. Publicly released info, according to the source, often comes without notes about margin of error, lending further ambiguity.