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I was thinking of ways to describe the challenges of Big Data adoption, and I remembered an incredible video of a woman hearing her voice for the first time. Her reaction was an overwhelming mixture of joy and fear. When you fully embrace Big Data you will experience the joy of seeing all your data, and the fear of what it might mean.

For years we have dreamed of being able to bust through the silos and bring together all of the databases and documents into one place. More recently we have even dared to imagine bringing in all of the external data including the treasure trove of social media.

Now this is actually possible, so what’s holding us back? The easy answer is cost, but as companies roll-out more and more applications at lower and lower prices we will need a new excuse to hide the real reasons. Here are a few:

  • What if the data reflects badly on me or my department?
  • How will I control what people do with the knowledge they gain?
  • Will the intelligence and insights create a new level of accountability?
  • Are there new responsibilities, and will some of them be unwanted?

Just like the woman didn’t want to hear herself cry, people will not want to see everything Big Data shows them. So what can you do? Take a page from the nurse who said, “Do you want to hear your husband?” She understood for all the things she might not want to hear, there were many more she would. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • How can Big Data tell a more complete story about what I, and my department, accomplish?
  • Who can I now collaborate with to help us both be more successful?
  • What new opportunities are there to more accurately report what we do?
  • Armed with Big Data what can we do now that we could not before?

Big Data is coming and rather than fearing the potential responsibilities and accountability, embrace the exciting possibilities of seeing a complete picture of your organization for the first time.

 

 

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