For years, the business world has contended with the rise of “Big Data,” and exactly what to do with it. Much like “the cloud,” most of us benefit from big data without truly understanding it. Big Data grows more and more with every click, every acceptance of Terms & Conditions, as more and more information gets released and re-released into the cybersphere.

Edward M.L. Peters, PhD. and his colleague Jim Sinur describe Big Data as the “unexpected resource bonanza of the current century,” leading to incredible advancements, but also some incredible abuses of power. They write that Big Data is like a Genie we can’t put back in the bottle, that will take “comprehensive efforts” to protect and manage.

One danger that genie in a bottle poses is that whoever finds it is more than likely tempted to use it for themselves. Whether it’s three wishes or three hundred, it’s easy to get carried away with the immense power at your fingertips. Such is the case with the data we collect, which is accumulating at such a rate data scientists aren’t sure they can keep up. 

And if that’s the case, then it’s more important than ever that your data isn’t just reserved for the team collecting it. Data Scientist Edd Wilder-James puts it succinctly that “in today’s digitized economy, the ability to use data represents a real and essential competitive advantage.” And that advantage should be utilized among competitors, not between departments.

Nobody Puts Big Data In A Corner

Just like wishing for all the riches in the world still leaves you unhappy with that genie in the long run, trying to hoard data for your department--or even unintentionally siloing it--doesn’t do anyone any good. Data silos drive up the costs of extracting data, and reduce its accuracy, especially if two different departments have sets of data that directly conflict with one another.

So, please don’t keep Big Data sitting in the corner of analytics. It’s got other places to go. Mike Brody, CEO and co-founder of Exago, Inc. emphasizes that “if data is the game-changing resource it’s billed as, its benefits are not limited to executives or tech experts.” Data is a resource that Brody contends is “capable of making everyone, across all departments and levels, better at what they do.”

And ultimately, Brody says that “companies that harvest this potential will begin to see a number of positive and momentus shifts.” Mare Lucas, co-founder of Traverse Strategies agrees, posing the question “What if data were as accessible to salespeople to salespeople on smartphones as they are to specialist analyzing information on multiple dashboards?”

Releasing the Genie

How do we free the genie to float between departments and grant everyone some of that Big Data prosperity? Well, Lucas suggests that making data accessible to each team requires demystifying it, as it “continues to permeate areas of the organization for which data analytics had not exactly been a part of the job description in the past.”

Data analytics is impressive and all, but to most other departments, data has to be condensed into a more powerful, accessible form. Data mobility requires what Lucas refers to as “consumerizing” the experience, so that anyone with any level of analytics experience can access and interpret the data that’s important to their department.

When Wishes Come True

When each team has full access to your data, then that data can be used to its full potential. No more squandering those three wishes, so to speak. CFO’s can really interpret and act on financial data as its collected; marketing can track trends and feedback in real time, and sales can recognize the data patterns that lead to success. When you share data with each team, everyone’s wishes can come true.

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