Data science is in the midst of transformation, with Big Data technologies starting to significantly encroach on the market share of traditional RDBMSs (relational database management systems). Spending worldwide on Big Data is forecast to hit $114 billion by 2018, growing at an annual rate of almost 30%.
With an ever-increasing number of SaaS and mobile app offerings being born in the Cloud, organizations will invariably need to adapt to new, non-relational paradigms for extracting, analyzing, and securing data.
That said, the RDBMS slice of the data market is still 76%, and firms that have yet to embrace Big Data still have ample opportunity to get on the bandwagon.
The following are seven ways to prepare your marketing department, and your organization as a whole, for a future IT landscape dominated by Big Data technologies.
1. Find and use the appropriate integration methodology and technologies
It's highly probable that your firm's traditional RDBMS data warehouses will continue to function as mission-critical components of your enterprise systems architecture. When planning to incorporate Big Data solutions into existing infrastructures, it's crucial to identify the proper tools for integration. Technologies and purpose-built tools specifically designed for Big Data should be used.
2. Prepare the IT organization for the Cloud
Big Data technologies such as Hadoop and MongoDB are designed to perform in the Cloud, giving firms the ability to horizontally scale computing and storage resources as needed.
IT departments will need to determine what type of cloud topology to use—for example, private versus hybrid cloud—according to their individual firm's needs. In addition, Big Data will give IT insights into how to improve its own operational efficiency to support the firm's objectives as a whole.
3. Provide the proper training for data professionals in your organization
Although RDBMS interfaces and SQL interpreters exist for Big Data solutions, in general the new technologies are a significant departure from the standard RDBMS. Data professionals will need to undergo proper training to manipulate and query Big Data, as their roles will become increasingly focused on how to make sense out of the data provided to stakeholders.
For example, Big-Data-powered centralized digital audience management systems will use disparate data from mobile activity, desktop user behavior augmented by a second screen, email, registration form data, and social media activity for comprehensive customer profiling.
In addition, data visualization tools for Big Data will become increasingly commonplace as the preferred method of understanding data and making information actionable. Data professionals will need to acquire skills in using these applications and tools.
4. Ensure your Big Data initiatives are in line with the company's security policies and compliance laws
Data that lives in the Cloud may require a restructuring of corporate security measures, especially in cases when data bursting to the public Cloud is desired or necessary. Moreover, measures must be taken to make sure the new public/hybrid Cloud topologies to support Big Data are in compliance with laws and regulations, such as HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley.
5. Prepare the organization for workflow changes
In the past, database administrators were tasked with the creation of reports, which were delivered on a scheduled or ad-hoc basis. Big Data, custom tools, and applications are built to serve a particular audience on a self-service, on-demand basis. For example, marketing organizations will use custom marketing analytics packages to make sense of information stored in Big Data warehouses.
Non-IT professionals will require acclimation and training in using the appropriate tools to query Big Data directly.
6. Stay ahead: A future of tools and evolving technologies
Although Big Data is seeing widespread adoption, tools and vendors will continue to evolve. Furthermore, standards and common practices will continue to solidify. Until then, IT practitioners and managers need to be cognizant of and open-minded in evaluating Big Data solutions.
7. Evolve marketing and advertising practices with Big Data
Because of the advanced modeling, detail level, and predictive analysis that Big Data will provide on individual user behavior, marketing organizations will need to master the art of crafting messages, promotions, and marketing on a micro-level, specific to each person.
Just as the surge in mobile adoption has prompted organizations to ramp up their mobile marketing efforts, a future of ubiquitous connected devices will mean a transformation of digital advertising and marketing methodologies.
Data from cross-device tracking will power new programmatic marketing campaigns triggered automatically based on user behavior. This data will give marketing organizations a holistic view of user behavior, enabling various micro-targeting initiatives based on user data sourced from smartphones, wearables, and other IoT devices of the future.
The resulting personalization of marketing and advertising content will lead to more customer-centricity, deeper customer engagement, and ultimately better ROI and conversions for marketing/advertising expenditures.
These Big Data-enabled capabilities will require a new level of marketing sophistication and creativity.
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