Build a Roadmap to Big Data & Analytics

Many organizations realize that they need to leverage the vast amounts of information available today to compete and operate more efficiently.  This pool of exponentially expanding information is often referred to as “big data”.  However, the messaging around how to approach managing “big data” can be confusing.  Even the term “big data” seems to cause customers to roll their eyes.  They have heard a lot of vendor messaging on this topic and each company seems to have their own definition and solution(s) targeted at this market.

So how do you know where to start?  What I propose is taking the technology out of the discussion and focusing on what the business is trying to accomplish.  Let’s not focus on whether the data management challenge is “big”, but let’s focus on how “important” overcoming the challenge is to the business.  Once this area of importance is determined, then the overall problem can be dissected into smaller more digestible pieces.  Once this is accomplished, a roadmap can then be constructed around how each part of the project can be addressed through a series of manageable, business related “wins”, all the while building toward the strategic goal of the business.  This approach ensures that the project stays on track and helps the business understand when they will see quantifiable results from the “big data” initiative and what the deliverables will be.  One more point I will add is that you can have a “big data” initiative and have a need for big data technologies without having many terabytes of data.

NES’ Discovery Workshops and Services follow a pre-defined methodology based on industry best practices related to “big data”, information management and analytics.  We first conduct a workshop to understand the customer’s objectives and business drivers, in this instance, related to “big data”.  We take into consideration both the needs of IT, the needs of the business, then document all these requirements to get a complete view of the company’s objectives .  Using this information as a base, we begin to create the actual deliverables and  blueprint for  how the project should flow.

1)-One or more project plans with resource and level of effort estimates

2)-If more than one project, a program roadmap for incremental delivery of the subject areas and business capabilities

3)-A System Requirements Specification (SRS)  defining

•General use cases

•System context

•Data sources & load windows

•Design patterns & standards to follow

•DR/business continuity needs, SLAs, backup requirements

•Security, audit, data quality, data retention, volumes

4)-Business Requirements Document (BRD)  for the first development effort

5)-Enterprise Conceptual Data Model (CDM)/ Subject Area Conceptual Data Model

6)-Data Dictionary

Using the deliverables as a foundation, we can now help the customer understand what technologies are available in the market to support their project.  The next step is to collectively determine which solution best fits their needs.  We then use the phased project plan and other assets we’ve created as a blueprint to illustrate how to take small steps toward the strategic goal (supported by the technology), all while achieving quantifiable business related “wins” and without unnecessary capital spend.

NES has been in business as a Premier IBM Business Partner and consulting firm for 34 years.  Our areas of focus are data, data warehousing, data integration and analytics.  To learn more about this topic, or how NES might be able to assist you with your information management or analytics needs, please feel free to contact me

Liam O’Heir


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    NES has been in business for 33 years and we’ve always been focused on data. But now, it’s about the liberation of data - with solutions like IBM Netezza, Big Insights and Cognos, we are educating and empowering our customers to make better, more informed decisions about their business and ultimately, to achieve their goals.

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