Enterprise Architects: Prep for Big Data Changing Your Company

Enterprise architects need to prepare for how Big Data will change their organization.

Wrangling Big Data in ways that benefit an organization isn’t the sole responsibility of data scientists. According to a new Gartner report, enterprise architecture practitioners need to play a significant role in optimizing their organization to handle data effectively.

Enterprise architecture practitioners (also termed “enterprise architects,” at a savings of half the syllables) analyze enterprises and suggest how to make them more efficient and durable. That’s a pretty sprawling job, one potentially made much harder by an organization’s decision to enter the business-intelligence game.

“For the [enterprise architecture] practitioner, the balance shifts from a focus on optimization and standardization within the organization,” David Newman, research vice president at Gartner, wrote in an April 17 research note, “to lightweight approaches that focus on harmonization and externalization across the broader enterprise ecosystem.”

In other words, Big Data can and will disrupt an organization’s strategy, infrastructure and culture. Gartner argues that enterprise architecture practitioners need to take the lead in guiding their organization through this disruptive period, focusing in particular on four elements: hiring specialists and managers with deep data backgrounds, crafting a “data-savvy” business strategy, creating incentives and metrics for better data-sharing, and acquiring the right sets of tools, techniques and architectures.

“Enterprise architects should educate leaders about potential big data opportunities now readily available through start-small, cost-effective analytics and pattern recognition tools and techniques,” the research note added, “but also explain the risk factors (such as data privacy, regulatory and legal challenges).”

Organizations adopting Big Data platforms also need to install an internal culture of data-sharing and openness, something that can be addressed by conducting what Gartner terms “stakeholder analyses” to “identify the cultural roadblocks to data sharing.” Enterprise architects can “advocate open innovation efforts that will enable customers to participate directly in product development,” which in turn can help “overcome silo-centric behaviors and force more cross-team data sharing.”

The rest of the firm’s advice centers on acquiring the necessary people and tools. For enterprise architecture practitioners, a big part of that apparently involves identifying “technical gaps” in supporting Big Data platforms, as well as assisting the overall organization in implementation.

Interest in business intelligence and Big Data seems to be on the rise, and not only among enterprises. Research and analyst firm Techaisle recently conducted a survey of 800 small- to midsize businesses, finding that a third of them “are currently using business intelligence but also interested in Big Data analytics.” Some 73 percent of those surveyed businesses preferred Hadoop “because of its ability to process large volumes of unstructured data.”

 

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