As Big Data Rises, IT Departments need to Overcome Obstacles

January 28, 2013

The rise of innovative technologies like cloud computing and mobile solutions has put a greater emphasis on companies’ ability to manage information. As a result, big data analytics has exploded to become one of the top priorities for executives and IT departments.

While the impact of big data has been primarily positive, the technology has not been without its share of challenges – including for IT departments. According to a recent Robert Half Technology survey, more than three-quarters of CIOs said their companies don’t collect important customer data, with more than half of respondents citing a lack of personnel as a reason. 

Meanwhile, a separate study by Infochimps found that accessing the data (cited by 76 percent of respondents) and inaccurate scopes (58 percent) are currently the top two big data challenges.

Challenges not stopping big data adoption
At the same time, the Infochimps report revealed that 81 percent of companies consider big data analytics a top-five IT priority, while nearly 60 percent already have big data projects underway.

“This type of information gives firms an opportunity to create more personalized online experiences for customers, develop highly targeted marketing campaigns and optimize business practices,” said John Reed, senior executive director at Robert Half Technology.

Jim Kaskade, CEO of Infochimps, advised companies to change the way they approach their big data initiatives. He suggested that they start by putting the “business problem first.”

“Too many organizations are building big data platforms intended to meet the entire organization’s needs,” Kaskade said. “Unless they understand specific use-cases first, many will find such an approach falls short.”

Specialists can help
Because big data has such enormous potential, it is important for company and IT decision-makers to overcome the challenges the technology presents. The Infochimps report listed some key factors for achieving big data success, including:

– Scalability, which can be improved through cloud-based products.

– Flexibility and ease-of-use for management.

– Effective security measures, particularly because hackers target new technologies frequently.

In addition to focusing on the business goals, the Robert Half Technology report suggested that companies may want to hire big data specialists from the outside. The study listed business intelligence analysts, data architects and data warehouse experts as the three most in-demand IT jobs relating to big data.

According to an earlier Gartner report, big data could lead to 4.4 million new tech positions by 2015, so help could be on the way for companies trying to adopt the technology.