So, you’re collecting big data. Now what? You know you need a way to derive insights from the data you’re collecting, but many times just thinking about ideas for a big data project can be overwhelming. Big data solutions can mean many things and technical terms that are commonly associated with big data, like “machine learning,” “artificial intelligence,” “complex event processing,” intimidate business people especially when they don’t have a technical background. Also, it’s hard for people not familiar with big data to imagine the possibilities of what can be done with a big data solution. These reasons normally cause people to put off starting on a big data project. However, by not using big data, companies are wasting a valuable resource that they already have.

Complete a full data inventory
When a business is thinking about starting a big data project, the first step they need to do is to understand what data they are currently collecting. The data could be generated from sensors, CRM or sales systems or inventory management systems to name a few. Chances are you’re collecting data from multiple sources, so it’s a good idea to do an inventory on all your systems to make sure you don’t miss a source of data that could lead to key insights.

Interview your employees
Once you’ve discovered all of your data sources, it’s integral to dive into the data to see what information you’re collecting and understanding how that information is currently being used throughout the business. It’s helpful to speak with your sales, marketing, customer service or operations teams since many times they are manually analyzing data from different sources and deriving insights from them. This can be extremely time consuming and prevent people from doing other important aspects of their job. Their insights on how to use the data more efficiently and effectively can be a great source of inspiration for a big data solution!

Brainstorm your goals
After reviewing the data, think about what you’d like to get out of the data. Would you like to learn more about your customer’s shopping habits? Improve a process or how parts move on your manufacturing floor? Or increase inventory turns? 

Research current solutions for inspiration
Its also beneficial to see how companies in other industries are using data to achieve a similar goal to yours.  Often, solutions can be applied across multiple industries. For example, a geolocation tool that a retailer is using to find out more information about a customer’s shopping habits could inspire a museum’s curator to use a similar solution to observe how the museum’s patron’s are moving through a exhibit and learn about the popularity of different items.  Information on solutions like this can easily be found on online news sources, podcasts or online case studies. Also, following innovative companies or searching for the hashtag #bigdata or #IoT on Twitter or attending conferences that focus on big data or the Internet of Things can help you see examples of how companies are using their big data and inspire you to see how your company can start using it too.

Good things come in small packages
When you start a project remember that big results can come with small change. A small and simple solution could take your information and give you insights on how much inventory you have that’s getting ready to expire or programming sensors to proactively let you know that a machine needs to be serviced. Small solutions that deliver actionable insights are extremely valuable and could give you a competitive edge in your industry. These solutions can also be expanded on in the future when your business grows or changes.

Getting started on a big data solution doesn’t have to be intimidating. By inventorying your data sources, analyzing your data, surveying stakeholders on their current processes and seeing what other companies are doing with their big data brainstorming actionable solutions will be manageable!

Entrigna provides consulting services to help evaluate your system and its Real-Time Expert System platform is the only platform on the market that incorporates all of the major big data related algorithms in one seamless solution. Our technology let’s clients start small and then add-on or change their solution as their business needs grow and change. For more information on Entrigna’s consulting services or RTES platform visit our website  or e-mail us at