So, you’re going to implement Big Data . . .

Big Data is all the rage right now.  And, for good reason – there are more and more success stories related to Big Data readily available.

There could be even more success stories if the implementation teams explicitly focus on the people and organizational considerations of these initiatives.

Big Data projects are designed to leverage more of the data (both unstructured and structured) that is available – with the goal of driving true business benefit from this data.  In other words, turn “data” into business transforming “information”.

As you’re working to implement your Big Data solution, be identifying and implementing changes to the way your business users work in order to leverage this new information as efficiently and effectively as possible.

To accomplish this goal, change management should be incorporated into your Big Data initiatives.

Think of it this way – in a stereotypical ERP initiative, the new system makes new reports and new information widely available.  From a reporting / information perspective, Big Data is like ERP on steroids – it makes huge amounts of information easily available to your user community.

But, the fact that there’s lots of information easily available doesn’t mean that the community knows what to do with it or how to use it most effectively.

Change management will help you help your users to understand what the information is and how to use the tools to organize it in ways that are beneficial, etc.

Also, I suggest you work to help the business understand how to make decisions based on the new information available.  Given the goal of getting business value from the new information, the organization needs to be able to act on the information.  It’s probable that you’ll need to redefine your governance policies and give people new authority – to make decisions based on the new information.  Change management should be leveraged to clarify changes to your governance as well as ensure that the people you’re expecting to make decisions based on the data understand this (often new) part of their role and that they have the skills to do so.

Steve Mollen is an organizational change management expert with a proven track record in driving cross-functional, global teams to maximize their potential and achieve desired end goals.  Steve is Trusted adviser, Ivy League MBAa and sought after mentor with ability to develop junior staff. His experience includes global program management, methodology development, governance model design, process definition, relationship management, engagement management, transformation, coaching and full lifecycle systems implementation.

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