Big Data: Five Ways to Get Analytics Started

Last week I talked about five new data management perspectives that are driving Big Data. In Part Two of Big Data New Data Management Perspectives I would like to focus on the Big Data analytics.

In my blog over the years I have mentioned how business analytics are making the difference between winning companies and losing companies.  There have been many Gartner, Forrester, Aberdeen, and IBM case studies highlighting data management analytic program successes.  As the leader in the analytics with the IBM Data Analytics Accelerator (IDAA), IBM has many success stories from a wide range of industries available for download here.  There are many great stories that can be used as examples for your business. These case studies show how customer insights, optimize operations, reduced fraud/risk and financial performance analytics have made a big difference for companies worldwide, possibly including your competitors.

Below are five ways as a DBA or data management professional you can get involved and help in the conversations and startup activities around Big Data analytics.

  • Start with simple Big Data analytics reports.  Being a data management professional you probably have a good idea of your company’s systems, databases and all their relevant information.  Start with basic analytic reports on customers, products and orders.  Talk to the business users of any existing reports and ask what additional insights might be beneficial.  Do simple reports first.
  • Mind the Big Data analytics gaps.  Within any existing business reporting processes there are always situations or reports that are missing from every day processing that need to be added to the business analytics discussion.  Communicate with the business users to understand their business situation questions.  Be warned that asking “What is missing?” can generate an over whelming response, so document and categorize each comment by its data scope, inputs, criteria and impact to the business.
  • Always start small.  Big Data is everywhere, but avoid the temptation of a large project and start off with analytics sample of Big Data.  Start with a single product, customer, or department scope of your analytics.  Also, compress the analytics timeframe to a small time period.  This helps limit the complexities of the business, how the business conditions change over time, and the different business practices of departments or regions of the business.
  • Understand the business.  Even though you know the systems and databases business situations are very complex.  Just because the data is drawn from the same database tables does not mean your new Big Data analytics report may match the sanctioned existing standard report.  Know that there are numerous complex conditions that may drive existing reporting within your business. Researching the complexities can be a career on its own.
  • Prioritize Big Data analytics importance.  Within many Big Data and data warehouses that I have architected over the years, I’ve learned to develop reports to the most important or biggest impact analytical questions first.  The key idea is to try to understand and document all the complex and detailed business considerations that are involved in the analytics.  Communicate with all areas of the business to expose these complex situations.  Most of the time the important analytics are the very complex and can require hundreds of complicated considerations.  Start with Big Data analytics that are quickly achievable and accurate, and accelerate the business first.  Constant testing and business feedback are the only ways to decipher the complexities of the business.  Build your business knowledge and network so the analytics can be evaluated for accuracy and business users can confirm and spread the word of the new Big Data analytics capabilities.

Analytics are key for the business success and growth.  Be involved in the conversation and use these five ways to start your analytics of your systems and databases by providing business Big Data analytic answers tomorrow.


Dave Beulke is a system strategist, application architect, and performance expert specializing in Big Data, data warehouses, and high performance internet business solutions.  He is an IBM Gold Consultant, Information Champion, President of DAMA-NCR, former President of International DB2 User Group, and frequent speaker at national and international conferences. His architectures, designs, and performance tuning techniques help organization better leverage their information assets, saving millions in processing costs.

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