Can't figure out how to leverage big data for your business? It might be time to corral your own batch of data experts.

With analytics in high demand, many businesses are struggling to find the data scientists they need to turn high volumes of data into useful business information. But the problem isn't necessarily the dearth of data experts - there are usually several members throughout an organization who can understand, interpret, and create value out of big data. The problem is they're scattered.

Enter the competency center
The idea of a competency center, or a staffed team of domain experts within an organization is not new. Integration competency centers (ICCs), for example, have been around for over a decade and are designed to make it easier to integrate applications systems throughout an organization by bringing together IT experts, businesses strategists, and project managers to lower integration costs, reduce risks, re-use assets, and align projects with the needs of a business.

While the early 2000s saw a need to focus on integration, the past several years have shown that big data is the kingmaker and will be a major driver of growth for businesses, especially in the context of the Industrial Internet. Taking advantage of big data requires more than just data scientists, it requires an end-to-end understanding of how to create value for an organization from big data. Firms are now beginning to realize the benefits of creating data competency centers within their organizations, cultivating teams of experts to make the best use of the vast amounts of unstructured data available to them.

Big data teams
Big data can be a dense and wild forest. Navigating it successfully requires putting customer needs and values first. This way, data analytics can carve a clear path toward a clear destination. In most organizations customer experts, product developers, project managers, and data analysts are separated by departments and divisions. Using big data to grow a business requires overcoming these divisions, and that's where the value of creating a data competency center truly shows. By bringing together key employees from several departments, big data teams can work to develop and implement valuable solutions for customers while mitigating risk and driving efficiency. Some competency-center-enabled tactics that optimize both service quality and internal efficiency include:

  • Small and lean data: Make sense of big data by making it leaner, targeting collection, filtering, and analytics closely to customer needs.
  • Short test cycles: Use techniques like Agile product development, which can be highly efficient, and reduce the time it takes to develop a solution while also benefitting from quick customer feedback.
  • Social business strategy: Let project management and product development be driven by customer needs, and have constant communication with customers to assess changing demands.

About the author

GE Digital

Driving Digital Transformation

GE Digital connects streams of machine data to powerful analytics and people, providing industrial companies with valuable insights to manage assets and operations more efficiently. World-class talent and software capabilities help drive digital industrial transformation for big gains in productivity, availability and longevity. We do this by leveraging Predix, our cloud-based operating system, purpose built for the unique needs of industry.