Taking the Big Plunge

I don’t see the logic of rejecting data just because they seem incredible.

—Fred Hoyle

In the previous chapter, we moved from theory to practice. We saw how three organizations have used Big Data and related solutions to move their needles. Much can be extrapolated from those case studies and the other examples discussed in the book—and that’s the point of this chapter. The following pages offer sage advice for getting started with Big Data.


Perhaps the three case studies in Chapter 5 inspired you to take action. Maybe your brain is overwhelmed with possibilities right now about what Big Data can mean for your organization, and you just can’t wait to get started. If so, I’m glad. Now, I don’t want to rain on your parade, but before continuing, don’t start just yet. Airplanes don’t take off without undergoing a swath of diagnostics. By the same token, on an enterprise level, jumping into Big Data without first asking a few questions is ill advised. Consider these four things before starting the ignition.

Infonomics Revisited

How can an organization possibly benefit from Big Data if its culture and employees only rely upon empiricism? What if they don’t recognize the inherent value of information? (See the discussion in the Introduction titled “Google and Infonomics.”) Short answer: they can’t. Unfortunately, employees in many organizations regularly ignore or reject information and data. Instead, they rely exclusively on hunches, ...

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