The top 8 traits of big data winners

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The learning curve in big data is either long and winding or sharp and dangerous, depending on the path you take. It's no secret that many companies drive right off the cliff either way. But those that make that curve race to the finish line and the winner's circle.

There doesn't appear to be much of a middle ground at this point. Most companies either make that curve or they don't. Others have yet to even get on the road.

Tata Consultancy Services surveyed 1,217 executives from companies with more than $1 billion in revenues in a dozen global industries to see if they could determine why some companies make it to the winners circle and others never finish the race.

They found four common traits in big data winners: The leaders are more Internet-centric; they mined data for multiple reasons and uses; they are more aggressive in exploiting unstructured and external data; and, they centralize their big data analysts rather than embed them in business functions.

From my own experience in observing the field, I would add four additional traits found in big data winners: their analysts are uncommonly knowledgeable about the company; analysts are partnered with highly accomplished business users who are also uncommonly familiar with the company's business and industry; their goal is never to reduce costs but to improve profits and growth; and, they know exactly what they seek to accomplish with big data from the start.

In other words, the big data race is not won by chance but by design.

For more:
- see this Harvard Business Review blog post
- see the 2013 Global Trend Study

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