Making sense of Big Data without a data scientist in sight

Everywhere you look people are discussing Big Data and the opportunities that it presents for enterprises. However, recent headlines like “A shortage of data analysts is the main challenge of Big Data” and “Big Data's Big...


Everywhere you look people are discussing Big Data and the opportunities that it presents for enterprises. However, recent headlines like “A shortage of data analysts is the main challenge of Big Data” and “Big Data's Big Problem: Little Talent” have dampened the spirits of those hoping to cash in on these opportunities; fuelling the rumors that there is an impending shortage of personnel with the ability to harness the insights generated by Big Data.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Big Data calls for business analysts, not data scientists…
The basic thrust of these arguments is that companies don’t understand data science and can’t find the necessary data scientists to help them: “if only a handful of people can really take advantage of Big Data”, say the critics, “doesn’t that defeat the purpose of making the investment in the first place?”

In reality, it’s ridiculous to think data scientists are the only way enterprises can derive value from their data. But as an industry, we’ve placed them on a pedestal and concluded that they are the only ones with the know-how to capitalise on this wealth of information available.

In fact, today’s enterprises already have the resources at their disposal in the form of business analysts, who are the key to understanding what’s necessary to move a business forward. Sadly, however, because of all the hype in the industry, enterprise customers are needlessly getting worked up about the impending shortage of data scientists and as a result have lost faith in their own analytic abilities.

Let the technology do the thinking for you

Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of Big Data and business intelligence vendors to offer easy to use, yet powerful applications that have decisioning intelligence built into them so users, machines and devices can always take the best possible action at any moment in time. The industry needs complete solutions that remove the complexity, not individual facets that require a PhD in order to piece together a useable solution.

The solutions themselves have to hold the key to understanding data. This means applications that come pre-loaded with the intelligence of data scientists, so that enterprises don’t have to hire them. The tools need to do the heavy lifting so that any line-of-business manager can use them easily and effectively.

Most business problems can be solved with a data solution. We should never lose sight of the fact that Big Data is not about sizing up and measuring data flows. It’s about identifying the business problem and then figuring out how data can help solve it in a way that is highly intuitive and visual; so that any business user can easily find the information that is most relevant to them, when they need it, where they need it, and how they need it so they can take the best course of action.

The future’s not as far away as you think…
Increasingly, enterprises are starting to demand new, easy-to-use Big Data applications that remove the complexity for the average business person. Recently, John Ginder, the Big Data analytics leader at Ford Motor Co, bemoaned the fact that there are still very few turn-key tools to help big companies do Big Data.

He explained that his group mostly relies on open source tools, like Hadoop, for managing large sets of data and that while these tools are powerful, they require highly skilled professionals to operate them. He dreams of a world where even the most non-technical business analysts can use Big Data tools to ask the right questions and make the best decisions, where data specialists—but not computer scientists—could go in and interrogate it and look for correlations that they might not have been able to look at before.

In reality, we may be closer than Mr. Ginder thinks. There is already a movement afoot to create Big Data solutions that empower all users to make timely, intelligent, data-driven decisions by dramatically reducing the complexity of analytical applications.

If Big Data is to reach its full potential, it has to be as easy and intuitive as surfing the Web. We need powerful visualisation tools that can continuously do the analytics and then display insights through intuitive graphical dashboards that make decision making a snap. There’s no doubt Big Data holds the key to transformational business change, but to extract its full benefits, we must find solutions that make data insights available for all.

Posted By Anukool Lakhina, CEO of Guavus

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