Building a Successful Big Data Intelligence Team

Despite all the hype about how great Big Data is, success ultimately comes down to ensuring you have the right team in place. What types of roles are you likely to need? How can you find the right people? What else can you do to be successful? All too often we see huge opportunity but inadequately resourced teams.

The Types of Roles you will Likely Need

The type of roles required for your Big Data intelligence initiative will be influenced by what you wish to do with your data, the new technologies you select and existing tech stacks within your enterprise. Unfortunately, the reality is that everyone is budget constrained, so it is more than likely that some workers will wear multiple hats within the same team.

  • System Administrators – will implement, administer, troubleshoot and maintain your big data environment.
  • Data Analysts – will leverage the data; searching, reporting and performing high-level analytics.
  • Data Stewards – also affectionately known as ‘Data Janitors’. They will help to ensure the data is essentially of a usable quality. Garbage in, garbage out…
  • Developers – the need for developers will strongly depend on the technology picked. Suffice to say that if you wish to do anything that is not ‘out of the box’, you will need a developer.
  • Data Scientists – a mix of software engineer and statistician; performing advanced data analytics and taking a wider view of how all the data can be used. They must be business savvy and able to explain in layman’s terms what they are doing and what the data means to everyone else.
  • Project Managers and Business Analysts – will naturally be required as needed.

Recruit from Within if Possible

You can of course go looking for someone ‘experienced in Big Data technologies’, but in all likelihood, the chances of finding someone are slim. Instead look to the workers you already have within your organisation. Many of their existing skill-sets will be transferable to Big Data technologies and they already have years of expertise, specific to your company data. Big Data provides the perfect opportunity to motivate, grow, stretch and retain your top talent.

“Big Data is challenging, but doesn’t involve too much rocket science. Invest in your existing workers, as they will have years of data insight and domain knowledge that will be key for success.”

Dedicate your Resources

Despite vendor claims, there is no tool on the market that will do all of the work for you, although some are easier to use than others. Behind every Big Data success story, there is a talented and dedicated team. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a small, Big Data initiative. If you wish to obtain value from your investment within a respectable time-frame, then dedicated resource should be a given.

Knowledge is Power, but Knowledge Takes Time

Call it ‘research and development’ or whatever you like. Your team is going to need time set aside to learn new technologies, attend conferences and training – make it part of their goals or development plan. The Big Data landscape is changing extremely rapidly and the technology is still young. Your team must become SMEs in the technologies you implement and know how to adequately leverage them for maximizing your data intelligence.

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