Investing in new technology is risky business. Often, the only information that decision-makers have to go on is speculation about similar organizations’ investments. Companies look to see where other businesses are spending their money in technology and make assumptions about whether or not that same investment will work for their firm. Decision makers also look to leaders in the tech sector itself to determine where they should be investing their budget dollars. One such area where IT leaders should look to for insight, if they are not doing so already, is the big data market.
Key Takeaways From The Big Data Market
Just what can IT leaders in all sectors learn from the big data market? First, there are off-the-shelf solutions that can be customized for nearly any industry vertical. IBM’s Watson analytics is being used in many sectors: Watson powers GM’s OnStar platform, it is used to help develop individualized medical care plans, Watson creates social media posts for Conde Nast, and powers voice-activated ads that allow consumers to ask questions about products and services. Watson is also used by legal professionals, manufacturing companies, nonprofits, education and more. Choosing a solution that is both off-the-shelf and customizable brings instant, tangible ROI.
IT leaders should also follow big data’s lead when it comes to offboarding non-critical tasks. Relying on vendors, third-party consultants and other providers allows companies to access SMEs in areas where the company lacks in-house expertise or in cases where they want to reallocate resources away from utility functions to focus on more strategic IT initiatives.
The big data market is quick to adopt new and improved technology like SAP HANA that is using memory in new and exciting ways, but they do not dump tried, tested and true platforms in favor of shiny new objects. Reporting platforms like SAS and Cognos are still major players in the big data game, and many legacy systems are well worth holding onto.
Take A Measured Approach To IT Investment
The biggest lesson IT leaders can learn is not to necessarily dump everything and start from scratch when looking to adopt or improve analytics and business intelligence. Instead, they should use the approach favored in big data circles. First, clearly define the business case and how analytics will support it, then evaluate existing tools to see how far they can take you towards your goal before investing in anything new. This allows decision makers to clearly see the limitations they may (or may not have) and to choose new investment based on an accurate needs assessment.
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