- Merge. To squeeze the value out of your data, you need to merge data from multiple sources -- for instance bringing together structured data like customer information from your CRM with unstructured data like customer sentiment data from social news feeds to gain a more holistic understanding of how customers are responding to your product. The challenge here is in understanding which data to bring together to provide the actionable intelligence you need.
- Optimize. Not all data is good data. Making decisions faster using data-driven processes is an excellent goal, but if you start with bad data, you'll just be making bad decisions faster. You need to identify, select and capture the optimal data set to make the decisions you need to make. This involves framing the right questions and utilizing the right tools and processes.
- Respond. Having data and acting on it in a meaningful way are two different things. You need to have the proper reporting tools in place to surface the right information to the people who need it, and those people then need the processes and tools to take action on their insights.
- Empower. Data can't be locked in silos, and it can't be the province of a select few. You need to train your staff to recognize and act on big data insights.
Thor Olavsrud covers IT security, big data, open source, Microsoft tools, and servers for CIO.com. Follow Thor on Twitter @ThorOlavsrud. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline and on Facebook. Email Thor at email@example.com.