In the age of big data, companies’ success or failure often hinges on their ability to collect, access and properly utilize data. Two commonly used terms, and underlying strategies, are data management and enterprise search. What are they? Why are they important to your company?
In its simplest definition, “big data” is all the data generated and collected by all the various computers, tablets, smartphones and connected devices around the world. In recent years, especially with the rise of social media, smartphones, tablets and mobile computing, big data has grown exponentially as much of the world’s population is constantly connected to the Internet.
This trend shows no signs of abating and is expected to continue its exponential rise. In fact, Gartner predicts that in 2015 alone, 4.4 million data scientists will be needed worldwide to help companies wade through the data being generated. In spite of the pressing need, only one-third of those jobs are expected to be filled.
This highlights the vital need for companies to employ good data management policies. Data management is the process of selecting what data is important, verifying the accuracy of the data, ensuring it can be collected in an efficient manner, storing and governing the data in a way that protects it adequately and making the data available to the individuals and departments that can make use of it.
That last point, in particular, is where many companies get the cart before the horse. Many companies are so eager to take advantage of the data they collect and make it available to the necessary parties, that they fail to adequately prepare by following through on the preceding steps. This often results in excess data, inefficient collection methods, data that is only marginally useful, storage methods that do not make the data readily accessible and inadequate security measures, which may lead to data breaches.
Once steps have been taken to properly, and responsibly, collect the right data, enterprise search comes into play. This is the process of making sure that the right individuals and departments can search the data that has been collected.
AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management) defines “enterprise search” as “how your organization helps people seek the information they need from anywhere, in any format, from anywhere inside their company – in databases, document management systems, on paper, wherever. Getting the right information at the right time.”
This definition highlights why proper data management is critical to the successful deployment of enterprise search capabilities. Only with proper data management—selecting the right data, storing it in the right manner and designing a data management system that is optimized for your company’s needs—can your enterprise search efforts pay off.
Like any resource, big data can be an invaluable tool for your company. As with any tool, however, improper use can spell disaster. To effectively use big data requires careful planning and implementation, specifically in the areas of data management and enterprise search. Once properly implemented, however, these two strategies can open up whole new worlds for your company.