Don't Fight It, Big Data Is Here to Stay

Lindsey Nelson

Big Data is Here to Stay, Network cablesDid you know that, according to a Forbes 500 study nearly two thirds of major changes in organizations fail because of resistance? Did you also know that 90% of the world’s data was created in the last two years?

To businesses, data is a driving force, giving insight into customer needs, operational costs, and a plethora of other aspects. This information needs to be analyzed quickly and comprehensively; however, business professionals are remaining loyal to a tool that cannot analyze at the speed required in today’s age for companies to keep up. This favored analytic tool is the reason many businesses are losing their edge.

According to Fred Gallagher in a recent article on ITBusinessEdge, “Despite an industry shift that has seen data become a valuable asset to most organizations, data analytics and business insight still occur on the desktop with Microsoft Excel…we are faithful to it, no matter what compromises on speed, ease of use or scalability it forces us to make.”

Excel, a product built in 1982 without today’s working practices in mind, fails as a database application. Subject to human errors, the tool falls short on quality and accuracy. This places companies in a vulnerable position. Data today must be efficiently stored so later down the line it can be manipulated to extract value.

Excel is a satisfactory tool to use for some analytics yes, however just good enough won’t provide any business the competitive edge needed in the 21st century. Take this for example: a 552MB file may only contain 3 months’ worth of data for one financial year. Then take into account the human errors that will occur, plus the fact a spreadsheet is an Office file. Office files duplicate, copy, stick and multiply giving you many different versions of the truth. Data is data; you don’t need different shades, just one single instance and output.

These are not the only limitations of Excel.

  • It’s a poor collaboration tool, editing is difficult when the document is being shared
  • It most likely isn’t real time
  • Capacity for interaction with Web-based solutions is limited
  • Safety, performance, and reporting capabilities are inadequate

Despite these restrictions, many companies still consider Excel to be “good enough” for their reporting needs. For most enterprises though, this satisfactory data tool won’t provide businesses with the competitive edge required for this day in age. Solutions able to provide that edge do exist. They have the capability to simplify data preparation and data management. This shortens the development delivery cycle and giving managers the ability to run queries faster and have immediate insight.

Technology grows at an unprecedented pace. Soon, there will be automated decision-making generated by alerts in the real time databases due to improvements in machine-to-machine (M2M) technology. More processes will continue to simplify and companies must learn to let go of the trusted Excel, embrace big data and learn how to harness the power of big data.

About Lindsey Nelson

Lindsey Nelson currently supports Content and Enablement at SAP. Prior to her current role, she was responsible for Thought Leadership Content Strategy and Pull Marketing Strategy at SAP.