Ways to Prevent Big Data Failure

ART03x - edited feature imageGartner has stated that 80% of BI and analytics projects fail; while tools are getting more sophisticated and software is getting smarter, the number of failures are actually on the rise.  So, sorry, the odds are not forever in your favor. The chances are you will fail, and fail big.  But I’m here to show you how to fail REALLY big. If you are going to fail, here are 8 ways to get the job done. This article is written tongue in cheek.

1) You can’t explain genius

Want to fail at epic proportions? Learn every new BI buzz word, such as: predictive and prescriptive analytics, cloud computing, streaming analytics, noSQL Dbs, Hadoop, and so much more.  Put those terms into a business case and randomly and ask for a ton of cash. Don’t worry about trying to explain it, since people will be so intimidated by the verbiage that they won’t even ask. Bingo— here comes a weekend in the Bahamas!

2) Start Big, no HUGE! Get a big budget and go for it

Big money, bigger whammy! To piggyback on the previous tip, don’t go small with your budget. Instead, go huge with a ton of promises, and ask for a ton of cash to fund it.  There is a saying that “the bigger, the better,” and the more arbitrary something is, the harder it is to know if you didn’t do it.  Make it huge—and long— so something like a 10-year project should do the trick.

3) You already know it all don’t ask a customer, don’t listen

You know what you need, so don’t worry about asking the customer. I mean, sure, you can meet with them to make them feel better, but let’s be real— you’ve been in IT for 30 years, so you know what’s really going on.  You don’t have to ask anything because you most likely already know what they need before they even think to ask. So, march forward with that knowledge.

4) Boil the ocean YOLO, get it done in one fail swoop, emphasis on fail

Don’t concern yourself with small potatoes, since data integration is all the same. Therefore it doesn’t matter if you’re converting one source or ten sources; try to knock them all out at once. Get it done fast!  Bring all the sources you can think of in at once.  While you are at it, change the presentation platform to a new piece of software. Change is good right? After all, consider it like doing surgery— it is best to fix everything while you have the patient cut open.

5) Just keep going (even if it looks bad)

March forward even when it looks like you may be on the wrong path. “Don’t stop, get it, get it” should be your mantra.  Ain’t nothing gonna stop your stride; you’ve got to keep on movin’.  If it looks like that data is bad, don’t worry about it. Report on it anyway. You’ve got deadlines— the quality of the data isn’t your issue. Instead, it should be the business’s. They should take better control of what they are doing.  You just lay the pipes— you’re not concerned about the quality of the water.

6) Planning is for schmucks, you’ll figure it out later

Don’t concern yourself with lengthy planning meetings. BORING! And who has time for that? You are smart enough to get it done as you go. You’ll figure it out.  After all, that’s what all that education is for— you even figured out IT when your degree was in criminal justice!  You got this!

7) Part time is smart time

Whatever you do, DO NOT allocate full-time employees to the effort, at least not full-time. They can work on it in their spare time, when all their other work has been completed.  Their time is too valuable to have them just worry about one aspect, such as analytics.

8) Consultants are great on their own, that’s why you hired them, they know better

I know I said that you shouldn’t get help, but if you insist, get some consultants. The more the merrier. You shouldn’t just hire them though, you must truly trust them. Trust is the key.  Don’t worry about giving them direction. Your consultants will figure it all out. Just have them contact you when it’s all done, and then there’s no need to waste time in between.

While this article is written tongue in cheek, I’ve personally seen each and every one of these attitudes and practices, and every one of them failed.  There are ways to succeed in big data projects, but a company that has adopted the above mentality will stunt that growth every time. If you do want to know more about how to make a data project work, check out my other article here.

Till next time, don’t worry, B I

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About Dewayne Washington

Dewayne Washington is a senior consultant with 20+ years of experience in BI and Analytics in over 2 dozen verticals. He heads a BI firm known as The Business of Intelligence. He is the author of the book Get In The Stream, the ultimate guide to customer adoption and his Data Warehousing and Mobile Solutions implementations have been featured in CIO Magazine and the Wall Street Journal. Dewayne is also a sought-after speaker and mentor for organizations striving to leverage BI and Analytics to meet business goals, thus earning him the title, BI Pharaoh.

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