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Big Data Strategies Are Nonsense

Posted by Jason Bloomberg on Nov 5, 2013

As the market gradually settles on a clearer definition of Big Data, and as the tools that target Big Data mature, more and more organizations are seeing the value in Big Data. As a result, enterprises far and wide are putting together Big Data strategies.

Nonsense, I say! Simply writing the phrase Big Data strategy indicates that you either don’t understand Big Data, or even worse, you don’t understand the word strategy.

Your strategy delineates how your organization is going to achieve its long-term goals. What markets will you be in? How will you differentiate yourself? How will you establish and maintain a barrier to entry? How will you gain market share? What innovation is important to your organization, and what are the goals of that innovation?



How you achieve your strategy is what we call tactics. The plans, the technologies, the assets we bring to bear and how we’re going to use them are all tactics. And those assets include your data – even your Big Data.

The phrase Big Data refers to data sets at the bleeding edge of our ability to deal with them, as well as the tools, technologies, and approaches that are emerging to tackle such challenges. But either way, Big Data are tools in your tool belt. They can help with your tactics. But don’t confuse tools with strategy.

Of course, this argument applies to any tools, technologies, or approaches. Cloud strategy, SOA strategy, etc. – all are nonsense. Do carpenters have hammer strategies? Do artists have paintbrush strategies? Perish the thought.

So why are so many organizations putting together Big Data strategies? Because Big Data is a hot buzzword, of course. And everybody knows, buzzword strategies are a whole lot easier and sexier than real strategies. After all, executing on real strategies is, like, real work.


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