5 Data Myths Debunked

Are you being held back from adopting or growing because of one these myths?


As with all new trends having a considerable uptake, certain myths and legends revolve around Big Data. It is safe to say that it is not always going to work for every company or division, but we wanted to debunk 5 of the most prevalent.

To use big data you need to have a superstar data scientist

The idea being that in order to fully utilise the data you hold, you need somebody who has an implicit knowledge of all technical aspects of data analysis, detailed business understanding and pitch perfect communications.

This is not the case. Trying to find one person like this would be almost impossible. Many companies have started utilizing teams to tackle each of these traits separately. Companies can be held back from fully exploring data when they believe that there is a scarcity of staff who are sufficiently qualified.

The truth is that many staff can be trained in the more technical aspects and the other necessary skills can be easily found either internally or in the job market.

It is expensive to start off

When getting into the higher echelons of data echelons, this is true. It can be an expensive operation, but it is not an expensive function to start and conduct at a fundamental level.

At it’s most basic, it can be simply looking at the way that people are interacting with a website or the products they are buying. Analysis of this data can then lead to other decisions on the way that a business is run or products are offered. It can be done through free software like Google Analytics and when dealing with larger datasets through Hadoop, an open source software.

It is not something that requires millions to begin, it can be done on a shoestring. In reality it is probably prudent to start on a low level programme and build it, increasing ROI as you go.

Data warehouses are dead, data lakes are replacing them

Masses of unsorted but useful data is going to replace aggregated and sorted data. This is a myth that many people believe, but is ultimately not true.

Although data lakes are growing in significance and companies are using them to great effect, they are never going to replace the structured data warehousing that has become the staple of data driven initiatives. Data warehouses represent the type of data that is at the core of what the company wants to achieve and will never be replaced by data lakes. Data warehousing is the foundation on what everything is built, if you replaced this with a lake the entire structure would collapse.

You need petabytes of data to start a big data programme

Big Data and analytics have been around for longer than the use of the terms used to define them. Data initiatives could have been undertaken from the most rudimental sets, the most basic sales data can be analysed to see what people are buying, when and where. This will provide enough data to support decisions or certain business functions.

In society today, the possibilities to gather more data means that there is no excuse about a lack of data. Just using a simply piece of code in the header of your website will allow you to gather considerable amounts of data that can be analyzed and made actionable.

Our customers don’t want us to use their information

Many companies have the idea that customers don’t want to have their data used. Again, this is a myth. With each click of the ‘I accept cookies’ button on most websites, customers are showing that they are happy to share.

Amazon are often cited as being overbearing because they suggest products that you may want to buy in future. In reality, these often lead to sales of items that people want to buy, most people would rather be shown what they are interested in rather than what they aren’t. This myth is true if the use of data is seen as being overly invasive without giving any benefit, but companies who are doing this are not going to be using data in an effective way in the first place.

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