Business leaders, government officials, health care providers and others have largely viewed big data with excitement and hope given the immense opportunities the technology grants to improve operational processes, quality control and more. However, privacy and security advocates have been concerned about the impact big data analytics will have on consumers and the general population given the sheer volume of information being used in these strategies.
Companies will need to ensure that they are taking every step necessary to avoid mistakes that damage brand image and hurt their subjects through the exposure of data or negligent use of personal information. By working with a trusted, experienced provider of big data services, many of these issues can be mitigated, but a new report indicates that organizations might not be taking these weighty concerns seriously enough, nor putting protections in place in a timely fashion.
Gartner recently released a statement that predicted roughly 50 percent of all "business ethics violations" in the world to originate from analytics-related strategies within the next three years. It is worth noting that these types of mistakes can have relatively severe impacts on a company, with hindered trust, financial loss from fines and lawsuits, and other damaging effects all being probable following an investigation that finds it had violated ethical requirements.
"Although big data and advanced analytics projects risk many of the same pitfalls as traditional projects, in most cases, these risks are accentuated due to the volume and variety of data, or the sophistication of advanced analytics capabilities," Alexander Linden, research director at Gartner, asserted. "Most pitfalls will not result in an obvious technical or analytic failure. Rather they will result in a failure to deliver business value."
The analysts did point out that companies that fall into this precarious position will almost definitely be managing their big data programs incorrectly, such as without the checks and balances necessary to ensure all information is made anonymous. Additionally, Gartner suggested companies strive to be more specific in their analytics initiatives, as this can help to reduce the chances of taking the wrong step, and understanding the staff's capabilities to handle the projects properly.
What is the safe path?
Many organizations have already started to use third-party vendors for a range of their analytics needs, including data preparation and visualization tools, and this has helped to ensure that investments are protected against improper management. Taking this a step further, leaders who believe that their internal staff is not ready to handle core big data matters should always look to professional service providers rather than trying to go it alone.
Not only will this generally be a bit more efficient and come back with higher returns more quickly, it will also safeguard the company from violations of ethics, privacy and even data breaches over time. With the right service provider, the sky will be the limit for potential performance improvements.