IT Managers Are Learning That It Takes Talent To Use Big Data

by drjim on September 3, 2015

Having big data is good, being able to use it is even better

Having big data is good, being able to use it is even better
Image Credit: r2hox

It turns out that there is an awful lot of data out there in the world. Some studies have shown that collectively we generate another 2.5 quintillion bytes (it’s got 30 zeros) of new data every single day and this is forecasted to double every year up to 2020. Now your company might not be producing quite that much data every day, but you are probably generating your fair share. As an IT manager, it’s going to be your responsibility to use your IT manager skills and understand what having all of this data on hand really means and you are going to have to come up with something to do with all of it.

How To Turn Data Into Actions

As an IT manager, you are going to have to be able to use your IT manager training to communicate to others why they are going to have to take action based on things that you have discovered by processing the company’s data. This task is not going to be easy to accomplish.

After your team has completed their processing of the company’s data, the responsibility is going to fall on your shoulders to take the results of that processing and help the rest of the company use it to make better decisions. The key to making this work is for you to become a clear communicator. This means that you are going to have to be able to describe the process that you went through to process the data in simple, easy to understand terms.

Once you’ve gotten the rest of the company to understand how the results were obtained, next you are going to have to get them to buy into those results. As an IT manager you are going to have to very carefully take the time to tell everyone why the results that your team has been able to gleam from the data should be trusted. Additionally, you’ll probably also have to tell them why these results relate to the problem that they are trying to solve.

Who Does An IT Manager Need To Have On Their Team?

Turning big data into actions sure sounds like a lot of fun, but just exactly how does one go about doing this? That’s a great question and it’s one that it’s going to take having the staff with the right training on board to make this happen. The big question for you as a manager is just exactly who are you going to have to have on your team in order to make this happen?

If this was a perfect world, there would be a data scientist standing on every corner just waiting for you to drop by. However, it just doesn’t work out this way. Most IT managers that I talk with lament the fact that finding talent to process big data is a big challenge. Instead of looking for someone with specific training, instead you need to be looking for candidates with the right set of skills. In order to do a good job of processing large amounts of data, you are going to need people who both have a sense of innate curiosity as well as good critical thinking skills. If you can find someone with both of these talents, hire them!

What Does All Of This Mean For You?

There is no question that the amount of data that every company is both generating and responsible for is growing at an alarming rate. What this means for us as IT managers is that we are going to have to put away the IT team building events that we may be planning and take the time to understand what we are supposed to be doing with all of this data and who we’re going to have to have on our IT team to do it.

A big part of transforming all of that data into a clear set of actions is to understand that it will really be a driver of your company’s decision making. What this means for you as an IT manager is that you are going to have to take the time to clearly communicate to the rest of the company what the data is telling you – and why. In order to accomplish this, your team is going to need to have the right people on it. Sure, you’d love to stock it with data scientists; however, they are few and far between. Instead, add people who have innate curiosity and critical thinking skills.

Big data represents a fantastic opportunity for your company: within that data are the answers that the rest of the company has been looking for. It’s going to be up to your IT team to discover what the answers are and then for you to clearly communicate them to the rest of the company. The good news is that this can be done, you’re just going to have to take the time to do it and you’ll have to use little words…!

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: How big of a team do you think that an IT manager needs in order to process a company’s big data?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

Bad news – your company wants more from you. Specifically, they want you to accomplish more each and every day. They also think that they know what you need to be doing. No longer is it enough that you manage your IT team successfully and deliver your projects on time. Now you are going to be expected to both work closely with other departments in the firm and even with outside vendors. Oh, and you won’t be getting any extra training on how to go about doing this…

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