Key big data myths you need to be aware of

With 2014 now upon us, one of the key trends that's set to play a major role this year is big data analytics. While many companies may have been experimenting or conducting early investigations into this area for some time now, 2014 is likely to be the time when these solutions go mainstream as the technology matures and businesses become more confident in their abilities.

However, there are still many pitfalls to be avoided if companies are to make the most of their data analytics activities. A large number of organizations may still be buying into some of the most prominent myths surrounding the sector, which must be overcome if they are to achieve their full potential.

Some of these were highlighted recently by eWeek, which observed that having access to large quantities of searchable data represents only half the equation for businesses. "Determining what to do with the data and knowing the right questions to ask to derive actionable insights are also essential parts of the solutions that drive ROI," the publication said.

Therefore, one of the main myths noted was that being able to access information easily is all businesses have to do to make the most of the big data era. In fact, many firms will find it hard to obtain usable insight from their data warehouses unless they have the right skills when it comes to querying this information.

Another problem many businesses fall victim to is assuming that just because they have data, individuals across all business units will be able to view this. In fact, many firms still operate in siloed systems where it is difficult to connect various business units to the most relevant data. Companies often assume that implementing these solutions will be a straightforward process, but there are a range of technical and organizational challenges involved with this that can make it difficult.

It was also highlighted by eWeek that there is a persistent belief that big data will be an extremely expensive process, requiring the deployment of highly specialized systems and trained personnel. But there are things that businesses can do to reduce this cost and make big data analytics a more affordable prospect.

"Everything doesn't have to be built in-house from the ground up. Often a hybrid solution combining in-house expertise and third-party tools offers a less expensive, more effective long-term solution," the publication stated.

When it comes to the question of personnel, this is again an area where organizations often over-estimate what is required. Frequently, firms are under the impression that they will need a large team of skilled data scientists in order to make a success of any big data project. But as this is still a relatively new discipline, professionals with the right qualifications and experience are in short supply.

Many firms therefore worry they will either have to pay large amounts for the best talent or go into big data deployments with insufficient expertise. However, it was said by eWeek that "having the right tools with the business acumen and context is far more critical".