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TDWI Upside - Where Data Means Business

Has Your Data Plateau Eroded?

Take being a change agent on as your duty as a data professional, sitting on the "gold" of the organization -- data. To get you started, here are six ROI-producing (and fun) data technologies to deploy now.

Although many organizations have forged a connection between data maturity and bottom-line results, many are still languishing, trying to keep the status quo alive. There can clearly be debate as to what is "lights on" versus progressive in an environment, but a Forrester shows that 72 percent of technology budgets go to the former.

This is astounding in an era when so many new technologies abound that eat last century's lunch in doing equivalent functions, not to mention the additive capabilities they bring.

All plateaus eventually erode and perhaps your data technology has as well.

Often the problem is identifying the "straw that breaks the camel's back" that instigates reform. I've seen companies "eek out" that "last" report from a decaying data warehouse or worse, an inappropriate operational system, for years. They may seem to be saving the company money, but it is fool's gold and technical debt is being created in the process that will surface sooner or later.

As much as we strive to pull the returns as close to the investment as possible, there is a period of investment in getting to the next rung of the data maturity ladder. Even sitting there reading this right now, you are investing. There is no return without an investment, but some organizations want the ROI on projecting an ROI (and so on).

If you are going to provide great service to your company, you anticipate the need -- the voracious need -- for data. If the need does not seem to exist, that is where to start. It's simply not enough to be "responsive" to urgent requests and be considered a leader. Ultimately, this "strategy" will get smoked out and those doing it will not succeed at high levels. Commit to growing the data science at your organization.

I believe this to be a healthy outlook to have for 2016. Take being a change agent on as your duty as a data professional, sitting on the "gold" of the organization -- data. By the way, this is truly fun. If your work has not been that, you must change it. Loving what you do is the best way.

Here are a few ROI-producing and fun data technologies to deploy now:

Hadoop/Spark ecosystem: This ecosystem will evolve, but the foundation of scale-out file systems without overhead and moving towards stronger non-functionals will not change.

Master data management: Despite the intense resistance to sharing that these projects create, efficiently collecting or generating data to share in small and large ways is essential to the bottom line; the generation capabilities of MDM are increasingly being required.

The Internet of Things: Though not a technology, a consideration of using the Internet as the processing backbone of new applications is increasingly compelling.

Cloud/Virtualization: It's hard to imagine just "cloud" as being a category, but at least starting there, it is a major disruptive force to IT as we know it.

In-Memory computing: Store data in main memory instead of on disks for applications where high performance is especially valued. Putting a database in memory can speed up response times for business users and enable deeper data analysis.

NoSQL: Perhaps the moniker will morph again, this time away from "not only SQL" to something that doesn't imply its origination as the antithesis of a programming language. Anyway, online digital strategies simply need to process too much information for any other operational approach.

About the Author

McKnight Consulting Group is led by William McKnight. He serves as strategist, lead enterprise information architect, and program manager for sites worldwide utilizing the disciplines of data warehousing, master data management, business intelligence, and big data. Many of his clients have gone public with their success stories. McKnight has published hundreds of articles and white papers and given hundreds of international keynotes and public seminars. His teams’ implementations from both IT and consultant positions have won awards for best practices. William is a former IT VP of a Fortune 50 company and a former engineer of DB2 at IBM, and holds an MBA. He is author of the book Information Management: Strategies for Gaining a Competitive Advantage with Data.

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