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With Big Data (and Self-Service) Comes Big Responsibility

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I recently moderated a BI discussion group here in Toronto. The topics centered around Big Data, Mobile BI, Cloud BI, and Self-Service BI. One individual made an excellent point about a very real risk with Big Data. In fact, this point is valid with any volume of data.

If an inexperienced user not trained in data analysis and data modeling was to analyze data on their own, there is a serious risk of misinterpreting the data. Outliers may not be outliers. Trends may not be relevant. Correlations may not exist where one may see a correlation.

This push for tools to let decision makers analyze data on their own has its benefits – less dependency on IT, timeliness of data, the emotional impact of autonomy - but does pose a risk for data to be misinterpreted resulting in poor decisions that may ripple across the organization.

For those of you who want to be independent, you have been warned!

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