Is your Prime Contracting Business safe from these 3 Big Data Risks?

Are you competing in the Federal Marketplace and looking to Big Data to give you the edge?

Do you want to make better business decisions by utilizing Big Data?

Have you heard about the amazing benefits of Big Data for Prime Contracting businesses in the Federal Arena but not sure where to start?

Before you go any further make sure you know what the 3 most common problems that businesses and contractors run into …. so you know exactly what to avoid.

Big Data Big Problems?

Big Data is one of the intelligent industry solutions that allows government to make better decisions. It does this by taking action based on patterns revealed by analyzing large volumes of data — related and unrelated, structured and unstructured.

The benefits of Big Data for Federal Government agencies and associated businesses are limitless and overwhelming, as are the challenges of handling and processing massive these amounts of raw data.

From increased efficient decision making to accurate forecasting, the value of knowledge offered by Big Data is unprecedented.

"Government has a gold mine of data at its fingertips," Mark Weber, President of U.S. Public Sector for NetApp. MeriTalk.

Despite this many federal agencies struggle to capitalise on these benefits due numerous issues from to storage to manpower … often referred to as “The Big Data Gap”.

The Ultimate Checklist

Data Information and Knowledge - What's the difference?

Getting value from all the available raw data requires the right mix of knowledge of federal spending, big data insight and analytical capabilities

Getting the data is one thing. Understanding it is another …  

Information can be considered as data that has not been interpreted. Data, therefore, is the raw material to information.

Knowledge may be described as information that has a use or purpose, but exists in the heads of people. Knowledge is therefore, information to which intent has been attached.

In the face of increasingly discontinuous environmental change, organizations seek knowledge, not data, for fast organizational adaptation, survival and competence.

The 3 Big Data problems faced by Prime Contracting Businesses in the Federal Marketplace

The demand for Big Data solutions is at an all time high. And according to Federal IT leaders it’s only set to continue.

A survey carried out by global IT services provider Unisys found that while some agencies are far along the path to realizing the benefits of big data, other agencies ....

"seem somewhat overwhelmed about the expertise and expense

required to make the most of big data." InformationWeek Government

There has been a significant increase in the challenges faced by ordinary working people and middle line managers trying to manage the exponential increase in data without the effective tools to be able to handle the volume.

So what are the main big problems caused by big data?

1. The Collection and Storage of Technology

To fully harness the power of Big Data, companies need to get the logistics right. Collection, storage, preservation, management, analysis and dissemination are just some of the challenges that need to be tackled.

The amount of disparate data created daily on top of previously created data, poses a huge burden for ordinary citizens to navigate.

“Seventy-three percent of respondents considering big data projects said they're concerned that their agencies' storage, computer and networking infrastructures might not support their big data needs.”

Combining data-driven inputs from disparate data sources and integrating them in meaningful ways to make possible multiple ways of interpreting that data, are at the heart of the work required to create a practical and actionable resource.  

Managing the streams of data from so many disparate sources is an overwhelming task.

Conventional databases require manually intensive methods for many operation, and these are prone to error.  Such methods are not sustainable over the long run, and therefore cannot provide information that can be confidently relied upon for daily decision-making.

2. People that speak “Big Data Language”

One of the recurring themes that arises during discussions of Big Data, is the lack of expertise when it comes to gathering and interpreting the information that is collected.

Realising the full potential of such massive stores of information is dependant upon being able to speak Big Data language.

Big Data use in Federal Government is relatively new, with a limited talent pool of specialized skills and experience required to execute in the federal domain.  

Data analysts are in short supply and finding and retaining the right people is an ongoing burden for many organizations.

Nearly 70 percent said they're concerned about their agencies' ability to analyze key data and Thirty-five percent of respondents said they had difficulty hiring and retaining the knowledge workers and data scientists needed for successful big data initiatives.

Many agencies find that the talent gap is driving agencies to the private sector, relying on external consultants which brings its own set of problems - not least continuity and budget issues.

The ability to make snap decisions and quickly move on Big Data insights is paramount to gain value.

The problems are not limited to staffing issues - other concerns reported in the survey from Unisys include establishing reliable analytic frameworks, gaining actionable insights, infrastructure and storage considerations and implementation costs.

3. Reliability and Security

Security and privacy and big issues when it comes to Big Data.

The privacy and legal restrictions on Federal Government data can be a minefield - lack of ownership and clarity over its usage can potentially put companies in a difficult position and raise issues of authenticity.  

The possible negative consequences from poor management of data sources include security exposure, wasted resources and untrustworthy and incorrect data.

There are huge opportunities for businesses and contractors when it comes to Federal Government, but success is dependant upon not just acquiring the data but the authority and credibility of your sources and how it is interpreted.

So the question remains, just how can companies turn the mountains of priceless data gathered into practical information that can inform decisions, facilitate action and impact the bottom line?

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Make sure you don’t miss our next post Why Knowledge trumps Information for Prime Contractors in the Federal Marketplace

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Ashok Mehan

Written by Ashok Mehan