Chief Data Officers and the Challenges of Big Data

In my last post, I wrote about what Chief Data Officers tell us are the most pressing challenges they face at the bottom of the Big Data stack —mainly creating a hybrid data architecture that can accommodate modern and legacy data sources. Once that architecture is in place and we move up the stack, CDOs encounter another set of challenges.

Data Integration and Standardization

A bimodal architecture that houses structured and unstructured data in EDWs,  Hadoop deployments, and streaming data stores makes it difficult to assess which data is worth cleansing and normalizing. To bring new data sources online just adds more complexity. Moreover, many systems create potentially usable data but no standards exist for extracting data across disparate systems.

In addition, enterprises often rely on third-parties to provide data for specific purposes. The data is never brought in house. It's used operationally, but the databases are not designed for broader analytics. This kind of fragmentation is systemic. It applies not just to the data but to the way systems use data—and the way organizations perceive the value of data.

Data Access and Data Governance

CDOs must balance access and data governance. The business will always want more self-service access. Business users, data engineers, and data scientists want to maximize ROI by treating information as a strategic enterprise asset.

Nevertheless, all organizations have data governance responsibilities. Highly regulated industries carry heavy compliance, data security, and data privacy obligations. But even companies in otherwise lightly regulated industries still need to meet the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard. Such concerns add another layer of complexity to creating a functioning Big Data analytics environment, especially one that stresses a high degree of self service.

Access and governance figure heavily when CDOs choose analytical tools—the focus of my next post as we move to the top of the stack. For deeper look at the challenges faced by CDOs, download our 5-minute guide.

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