Essential Guide

This Essential Guide is a collection of articles, videos and other content selected by our editors to give you a comprehensive view of this topic.

Structuring a big data strategy

Large and complex data stores are poised to become the new currency for large organizations if managers can cut through the noise and deliver quality business insights.

Gain valuable customer insights. Predict the future. Create new business opportunities. Big data holds these promises and more, but IT executives first need to formulate a clear business case and execution strategy. Without those elements in place, any effort put forth to gather, classify, analyze and ultimately act on data might be for naught. 

This essential guide prepares business and IT executives for success by showing how their peers have made the business case for big data and rolled out a big data strategy in their organizations. Learn the tools, technologies and strategies used to turn big data into big business insights.


1. Making a business case for big data: The why and the how

In this section, IT executives will learn how to make a business case for big data and gain insight into some of the drawbacks of big data technology.


2. Big data strategy: A video tutorial

Watch these video interviews with well-known data management consultants and big data technology users to find out how they ensure big data success over the long haul.

  • Advice on getting started with big data analytics

    William McKnight, president of McKnight Consulting Group in Plano, Texas, offers his definition of big data and talks about the challenges associated with managing a big data deployment. McKnight says traditional BI and analytics software simply won't cut it when it comes to ultra-large and complex data stores.


  • In healthcare IT, emphasis is on data science

    The biggest risk businesses face these days is a lack of IT talent, according to Cynthia Nustad, CIO at HMS Holding Corp. Nustad, whose company offers healthcare cost-containment solutions, is on the hunt for big data scientists and people with programming, data mapping, business analytics and communication skills. In this video, Nustad talks with SearchCIO Editorial Director Christina Torode about how technology is revolutionizing the healthcare space and what HMS hopes to get out of big data.


  • Data scientists add business value, but only in the right cases

    Data management consultant Shawn Rogers talks about the rise of the data scientist. According to Rogers, the exact definition of data scientist varies by company, and the industry does not wholly accept the term. But that doesn't stop the term from appearing in plenty of job advertisements these days.


  • The future of business intelligence: How CIOs can stay one step ahead

    What are today's IT leaders thinking about next-generation business intelligence? This video captures a panel of experts trying to put their fingers on exactly what IT leaders are thinking about next-generation business intelligence. The panel consisted of Michelle Garvey, global CIO at The Warnaco Group Inc.; Larry Bolick, CIO at Aquent LLC; Avi Saha, vice president at Automatic Data Processing Inc.; and Chris Wysopal, CTO at Veracode Inc.


  • Organizations must shift focus to big data analytics

    Colin White, president and founder of BI Research, thinks organizations are spending too much time focusing on big data management and not enough time on big data analytics, the processes and technologies that actually produce business benefits. "The data management piece is important, but what's of equal if not more importance is the analytics," said White. "It's what you do with the data that matters."


  • The power of data analytics in building agility and value

    In this video, Mojgan Lefebvre, CIO of insurance giant Liberty Mutual's Global Specialty, explains her belief that there are five ways to create business value: the right IT roadmap, governance, an agile IT structure, an IT team that understands the business it's in and a federated IT organization. She also talks about how her company is exploiting the power of data analytics.

    CIO Innovators

  • Big data tools can deliver real results, Sears CTO says

    Phil Shelley, CTO at Sears Holding Corp., talks about the importance of collecting and analyzing data to discover value that may have previously been hidden. While big data technologies hold a great deal of promise, Shelley says it's important to keep a cool head, avoid getting wrapped up in the hype and focus on pain points when building a business case.



3. The technology that backs the business plan

The key to launching and maintaining a successful big data strategy is aligning the goals of the initiative with the goals of the business. Once those goals are fully understood, it's time to find the technology that supports the plan. This section provides readers with information on the tools and technologies that build the big data ecosystem.


4. Key big data terms to remember

Arm yourself with the key terminology associated with big data strategy and technology initiatives.


5. PayPal chief scientist on cracking the code for big data analytics

Now that you've established a strong base for your big data strategy and initiatives, it's time to find out how your peers have implemented these technologies. Learn how to move forward with a big data program from real-world technology and business professionals who are making it happen today.