Big data is being hailed for its ability to contribute to virtually every department in the company from marketing to production, finance to IT. But big data does have its limitations. What can’t big data do for the IT service desk and your organization as a whole?
1. Big Data Can’t Make Up for a Lack of Skills
Big data can point you in the right direction, but it still requires trained, skilled, experienced workers to get your company to where it needs to go. Big data can identify a need, but can’t fulfill it. Big data can identify a bottleneck in the process, but can’t fix it. Big data will never be able to replace wise managers and skilled workers in the trenches.
2. Big Data Can’t Show You Answers Unless the Right Data Sets are There
You can only ask questions of the data when you’ve already fed it the answers. Big data is most powerful because it is varied and rich, not because it’s ‘big’. For instance, the most powerful data analytics are possible when all of the data from all of the disparate systems in the company have been offloaded and entered into Hadoop (or whichever big data solution you use). Don’t ask questions from the data until you’ve fed it the information it needs to process to find the answers.
3. Big Data Can’t Tell You ‘Why’
Big data can tell you that 13-year-olds from St. Louis like bright-colored jewelry. It can tell you that auto manufacturers are only using suppliers with automated warehousing systems, or that companies with more than $1 million in annual revenue are more likely to use cloud computing services. What big data can’t tell you is why these things are true. Sometimes, why isn’t even important.
4. Big Data Can’t Solve Non-Quantifiable Problems
Big data is about statistics. If the question (or the answer) can’t be expressed mathematically, then it isn’t a question for big data. Big data is good at telling you the percentage of your service tickets can be resolved within 20 minutes, or even which items on a job candidate’s resume makes them a great worker at the service desk. Big data can also help you with things like asset management, telling you the statistical probability of a remote worker losing his laptop or the chances of tablets being stolen by employees versus desktop computers. But if you can’t express it with statistics, big data can’t answer it.
5. Big Data Can’t Show You How to Use It
This is much like the ‘why’ issue above: big data can tell you what the answers are, but it cannot help you understand how to use that knowledge. For example, big data can tell you that customers with a certain job title take 20 percent longer than average to handle via email when they submit a ticket to the service desk. What big data can’t tell you is how to help those users faster and improve the numbers.
Successful data analytics is as much about learning how to get what you need from the data as it is about crunching the numbers. Are you asking big data the right questions?
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