Why agile steps are the key to unlocking the value of big data | DMA

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Why agile steps are the key to unlocking the value of big data

Perhaps it’s inherent in the name, but it’s easy to be daunted by ‘big data’. It can feel unwieldy, complex and loaded with the constant threat of clumsy mistakes. You’re aware that somewhere within its labyrinthine vaults hide the insights that can make a real difference, but how do you know where to find them? The answer lies in taking an agile approach to the way you treat what your data is telling you. When you break down your big data, it doesn’t feel quite so big after all.

Quality not quantity
Too often, marketers seem to be intent on creating a kind of informational landfill; mountains of material gathered for no great purpose, left to grow exponentially while the likelihood of it ever proving useful diminishes.

Data shouldn’t be like this. It should be purpose driven: precise information gathered to solve an identified problem, not collected ‘just in case’. The quantity of the data is never as important as the insight it delivers and the impact it creates.

Focus on the questions your business needs answering and let them inform the data you gather. If you do this you will find your approach to big data starts to change from a technical problem to a business solution.

Finding real insight

The answers that lie within your data can’t be found by using traditional analysis techniques. The volume of data is too great and the analysis tools too crude. Instead, the information needs to be refined and segmented, creating manageable blocks of information from the amorphous mass. Staged analyses then create layers of information, where the insight from each exercise is fed into the one that follows it. This is agility, taking the feedback from every measurement to hone and refine your overall understanding.

It’s a continuous, iterative process, and done properly it takes time and resource. But the benefits can be far reaching:
• Your questions answered: The insights you receive directly address the issues your business faces. This is data that makes a difference, not data for data’s sake
• Adding depth to your data: Agility ensures insights have been tested and tested again, giving them a rigour and credibility you can rely on
• Detail: Big data doesn’t have to mean big overviews. With an agile approach you can uncover specific, nuanced insights relating to the smallest segments
• Control: An agile approach also keeps you in control of big data, making it easier to manage the information you need, when you need it
• Predictive power: When you have trust in and control over your data you can reliably use it to predict customer trends.
Breaking down your big data builds your understanding of customers and can help solve your business issues. Each stage might seem like one small step but the whole journey adds up to a giant leap forward for your business.

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