I have been blogging about my experiences working with customers executing Big Data projects here and here. Many customers are creating new revenue streams, and improving their customer's experience. Big Data projects can be difficult because it requires transformation of people, process, and technology.
In this post I will be how EMC helps our customers transform their people. Big Data requires new skillsets. I see two common challenges:
- Envisioning/Execution experience - ability to understand how Big Data analytics can used to improve your business
- Technology – ability to use new analytics tools including programming languages, and analytics tools
Everyone has heard of the successful analytics projects by companies like Amazon, GE, The Climate Corporation, and UBER to improve their customer's experience, optimize operations, manage risk, and innovate for competitive differentiation (here). I see many customers struggle with applying those expereinces to their own business. The biggest challenge I see is the lack of expereince envisioning, scoping, and executing Big Data projects. It is not easy and most of the successful projects we celebrate in the industry are supported by many prior projects. EMC has developed a service offering to address this challenge called the EMC Big Data Vision Workshop. This service is particularly helpful to customers struggling with defining their Big Data opportunity. Leveraging our expereinced Big Data practioners we help customers identify potential projects, the internal and potentially external data sets needed, and the business benefits. As you would expect many projects are identified and there is a need to quantify the projects based on business benefit and risk. The project portfolio is then accessed with the business to determine the project or program of projects to be executed. The value of having seasoned Big Data project practioners with expereince in your industry is critical. Many organizations do not have ability to hire these practioners since the demand is far exceeding the available resources today. This service reduces the risk of a project failure while also jump starting your employee's experience.
The second transformation challenge is the need to learn new application achitectures, development methodologies, and technologies. The demand for experienced people with these new application architectures such as Lamda, and Agile development methodologies, and technologies such as Hadoop, Map Reduce, R programming is far out pacing the supply. As a result many univserities have started to develop Big Data circumlums which will increase the resources available in a few years. EMC Education was one of the first to develop a Big Data Analytics ciriculum and certification. This ciruculum has been optimized and shared with several universities over the past few years. Many universities have adapted this circulum and helping their students prepare for EMC Big Data certifications (here). Our expereince working with companies of all sizes is most people want to focus on subsets of the circulum to be productive quickly. Not everyone needs to be a Data Scientist to contribute to a successful Big Data project. In fact there are several new Big Data roles starting to emerge including:
- Big Data Analyst
- Data Architect
- Data Modeler
The EMC Big Data Analytics curriculum is modular and with multiple areas of certification.
In addition, I have referred a number of customers to our Pivotal Labs services organization. Pivotal Labs help's people to learn the new Big Data application development methodologies and tools. Pivotal Labs leverages a unique approach by developing your applications jointly with your resources in a collaborative approach, leveraging Agile development practices, and pair programming. Your resources are learning the new technology and methodologies as your application is being built. This approach reduces risk of completing your application development while giving your employee's the skill and expereince to maintain, and extend the application functionality into the future.
In conclusion, many struggle with initial Big Data projects due to a lack of expereince and the new methodologies and skillsets that are required to successfully execute a Big Data project. Everyone wants the benefits of Big Data anaytics that companies like GE, and UBER have achieved but struggle because they have not planned and invested in the transformation of their people. I think EMC has developed a powerful combination of consulting services, education, and development services to help customers successfully envision and execute Big Data projects. I think 2015 will be an explosive year for Big Data projects and I think EMC has the opportunity to become a major Big Data partner for many of our customers.