In today’s analytical business environment, the strategic direction of an organization largely depends on how it views this concept of bid data that is now on the lips of every business leaders. Traditionally, business analysts make use of fairly standard analytical tool to make meaningful business and data analysis. With the recent increase in the quality and volume of data that is gathered by businesses, simply relying on the analytical capability of database management tools is no longer enough.
If we are to believe the recent findings of IBM that 90% of the word’s data were created in the last two years, it then means that the journey into the unknown world of big data creation is just beginning. We are just entering the era of spending even bigger money on analysing these data in a way that will benefit our business both economically and socially, i.e business social intelligence.
Making decision on the strategic direction of an entity which in common term is the totality of actions and in-actions of management in the bid to achieve the overall goal of a company is even more complex now than it was 10 years ago.
CHALLENGES POSED BY BIG DATA
The three most pronounced challenges facing management in the era of big data are briefly discussed below:
Privacy issue: the watchful eyes of the various privacy organizations always monitor the big data gathering process of companies. Google in 2010 (BBC) violated the privacy right of unsecured wi-fi owners when one of their engineers wrote a code that pulled information from unsecured wi-fis. An important function of management in this Google age is to manage the privacy risk associated with big data before it spirals out of hand.
Cost: unlike the familiar territory of analysing and deriving useful information from structured data found in the traditional database management systems, big data is often gathered in an unstructured manner thereby making it difficult to economically process. Companies now for example have to continually sniff the social media for information that might potentially be harnessed for the benefit of the company. Doing this will definitely cost the company some money. There are big data analytical tools that can be used to achieve the information processing and analysis need of a business but, the benefits that would be derived from analysing those information must be weighed against the cost of carrying out the analysis.
Reputational implications: in an era where the power to create big data is in the hand of the general public, reputation and brand management has become a real challenge that must be tackled by managers. A company’s image can for example be damaged beyond control if it cannot guarantee adequate security for the information that people entrusted to them.
Most of the problems identified in this article as it relates to managing the risk associated with big can be reasonably managed by simply following the guidelines provided by ISACA in its landmark control framework known as COBIT. I will not discuss the detail of the content of COBIT 5 in this article as doing so will mean making this article unnecessarily long. I encourage you to grab copies of ISACA’s COBIT 5 for useful tips and insights.