Form a Diverse Big Data Team for Maximum Results

Businesswoman planning for Big DataIn recent years, a rising number of businesses in a variety of sectors have seen the value in leveraging big data so that they can optimize their operations. Despite there being more and more companies trying to examine the figures that big data reveals, improving their decision-making processes with the insight provided, these organizations don’t necessarily have the manpower to support these information technology initiatives. For this reason, chief information officers and other IT professionals taking on staff members for big data purposes should take a few factors into consideration when recruiting personnel.

One crucial component that companies should address when hiring the big data experts is to think about building a strong team. While CIOs may not have the budget to add an ample number of employees to their payroll, it is also important for them to recognize that completing all the tasks associated with big data would be a tall order for only a few people to fill. In light of this, businesses should aim to put together an entire staff of IT professionals who can collaborate on different efforts and chip away at the wealth of information that needs to be processed.

According to InformationWeek, David Menninger, Head of Business Development and Strategy for software company Pivotal, explained, “data science is team sport.”

Build a dream big data team
In this area of IT, there are so many numbers to be collected and crunched, in addition to a plethora of analytics to be performed. Because of this, a single person – or even a single type of person – cannot deal with all the duties involved in big data practices. Tech professionals have to work on more focused portions of the information at hand, dissecting and digesting it on their own. From there, they have to relay their findings to other staff members, and little by little this section of companies’ IT departments can piece together fragments of data to form a clear picture of their businesses’ and markets’ current situations. After completing this big data puzzle, which is ever-evolving and requires constant revisions, companies can pinpoint problem areas. Using the information uncovered, they can then establish specific objectives that would help them compete within their industries and get them to where they need to be.

While Menninger advocated uniform boot camp training programs for big data professionals, other CIOs have taken an innovative approach to getting their teams into tip-top shape. InformationWeek explained that even though many IT executives are focused on recruiting employees with tech expertise and experience, there are other skills that could prove essential to these efforts. It is not enough to simply compile information and break it down into numbers, but rather, these employees are responsible for interpreting their findings in a more creative and out-of-the-box fashion.

Consequently, some CIOs have been dipping into other applicant pools and pursuing candidates that don’t have an IT background whatsoever. The source reported that a number of organizations have been taking on representatives who have been trained in fields such as biology and even music to fill big data roles. While these professionals may not be aware of the latest tools or know how to employ them, these staff members do boast different skill sets that may prove invaluable to these tasks.

According to InformationWeek, Menninger admitted that, “we don’t have musicians but we do have some biologists. We believe in interdisciplinary skills.”

If CIOs form a multidimensional team composed of employees who bring a fresh perspective to the table, they could increase their odds of approaching information in a revolutionary way. Additionally, they could come up with cutting-edge solutions that other companies with IT-heavy staffs would overlook.

Don’t neglect big data’s human side
Choosing staff members wisely is critical when it comes to executing big data correctly, even though many IT executives tend to place more emphasis on the technological tools required for these processes. According to an Infogroup release, regardless of how important it may be to recruit the right employees to perform these tasks, big data appears to be dropping.

“A downturn in hiring could stall Big Data implementation, as the need for human capital is greatest during the analysis and action stages,” wrote David McRae, president of Infogroup Targeting Solutions, in a statement.

Because organizations are dedicating a bulk of their financial resources to purchasing and maintaining the solutions implemented for big data purposes, they have run out of money to hire the staff needed to support it. Although there is no doubt that having the most innovative forms of these tools is essential to stay ahead of the big data curve, CIOs cannot let the human component fall by the wayside for the sake of their companies as a whole – from the IT division right down to the marketing department.

“Big Data is meaningless without manpower,” McRae explained. “While it’s exciting that most companies are making bigger investments in Big Data, marketers should not forget that it takes people to make sense of the information.”

Marie Larsen
Marie is a writer for CIOs.com. She has an educational background in languages and literature. She covers IT trends and executive technology management topics for the company.