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Getting started with Big Data & Analytics (4/4)
13 March 2019 | Posted by Darragh McConville

This post picks up where my previous Enable post left off.

Evolve

The Evolve phase will see you learn from your initial successes and expand the impact of your data platform across the organisation.

8. Iterate continually

Your initial use case should take less than four weeks to successfully deliver. Immediate deadlines with clear success criteria will allow you to demonstrate results rapidly or, should your first use case prove unsuccessful, allow you to fail quickly and cheaply. Delivering in agile iterations enables this.

From the very first iteration you should focus on delivering insight to your end users. You should deliver an end-to-end vertical slice through your analytics platform, involving data acquisition, validation, aggregation, analysis and visualisation. This approach fosters a mind-set within your delivery team that every activity performed is done so to deliver new insight for business value. It ensures that the consumers of your analytics insight can assess and provide essential feedback, using familiar business intelligence tools, from the very first working version of your software.

As you iterate you will improve. Create a feedback loop and use your measures of success for each software version delivered to continually hone and streamline your delivery process.

9. Socialise success

Being successful is great, but you need to be seen to be successful to instigate further platform uptake. Your initial set of use cases most likely involved a small number of business departments, a number you will want to grow. Pick the most impactful use cases delivered and with that head of department, set out to communicate the achievements across the organisation. This could be as simple as a show-and-tell session in a conference room with a handful of business unit heads or it could be a global road-show across all internal locations. Either way, you should describe the efforts (investment) and rewards (insight) in such a way that it entices new departments to participate.

This is unashamedly a sales activity, where you are drumming up new business for your emerging platform. Increasing department uptake will raise the level of funding available to your analytics team allowing you to extend the reach and capability of your platform that in turn will help identify new use cases. Socialising success across the organisation will ensure that analytics projects are funded by the business teams for which they are created.

10. Advance knowledge

Heraclitus’ maxim – Everything changes and nothing stands still – is amplified across the data and analytics marketplace. The rate of change appears to be accelerating and the emergence of new technologies is almost a weekly occurrence.

Your team must keep pace in this rapidly-changing environment. The latest technologies and approaches should be monitored in the form of a watching brief and careful consideration should be given before implementation. You will find it useful to inspect the contents of the commercial Hadoop distributions to identify the supported technologies that you can consider to be enterprise ready.

You should budget for continued professional development – in the form of external training and accreditations – and industry event participation for your team members. This will keep them up-skilled and updated with the latest industry trends.

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