Selling Hadoop to the C-Suite: It’s all about business value

Selling Hadoop to the C-Suite: It’s all about business value

Selling Hadoop to the C-Suite: It’s all about business value
With all the talk about Big Data, most organizations are barely out of the starting blocks when it comes to exploiting it for business benefit. Gartner estimates that 85% of Fortune 500 companies are yet unable to exploit Big Data for competitive advantage. The real shame is that the key tool for doing so – Hadoop – is largely in place and ready for prime time. Could it be that IT hasn’t done a good sell-job to C-suite execs of the business value of investing more heavily in Hadoop?

First ask yourself, ‘What do C-suite execs care about?’ They care most about what will drive increases in both bottom and top line results. They care about better leveraging investments they’ve already made. So if you are ‘selling’ Hadoop with a sales pitch like, ‘it will let us handle extremely high volumes of structured and unstructured data across thousands of our clusters’, you might not get too far.

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So what will work better? Here are a few suggestions below, some of which are industry or market-specific. But in general, the idea is to articulate the business valueof the technology or solution for which you seek funding and support. Talk about new outcomes that have the potential to boost revenue or cut costs to drive better profitability. Talk about improvements to operational efficiency, another profit driver. In other words, talk business.

We’ll make use of a lot more data we already paid to collect.Without boring them with details, explain that all data is not created equal, and that most data today is not of a type that traditional systems can process – data from emails, video, and social media data. These data hold insights into customer behavior, market trends, and other vital business information. Paired with advanced analytics, Hadoop will unholster the potential of these data and provide business analysts with the tools to fashion real competitive advantage.

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We’ll gain far more value from the tidal volumes of clickstream data we gather. Here, you’re talking about getting more from investments the bosses have already made. Every B-to-B and B-to-C company invests heavily in its website(s) to attract and retain visitors. But today, most companies would admit they lack trustworthy insights into just how well these sites meet the needs of customers, employees, and partners.

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