Wading into the world of big data can be an exciting experience for enterprises. The possibilities are virtually limitless when it comes to what you can do with the smart data that you’re collecting on a monthly, weekly, daily or hourly basis once you have a data streaming platform in place. However, getting to the point where you’re making data work for your needs does take some planning. You must know what you want from smart data before you can build a strategy for implementing big data within your enterprise. Therefore, setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound is so important.

SMART Data for Project Planning

There are three crucial questions to ask when using data in conjunction with the SMART method of goal achievement.

What Do I Want to Accomplish?

This seems like a simple question. However, many companies are putting resources into collecting data they don’t yet know how to use. Even the best data in the world is useless if you don’t know what you’re trying to achieve. You have to have a solid reason for why you’re collecting data. Do you want to learn more about customer motivations? Are you trying to measure how likely a person is to purchase a product or service based on previous purchases? Does successful completion of a project look like a certain sales number? Getting your motivation for collecting data as perfectly tuned as possible is the best way to make sure that you can extract meaningful information out of the data that you’re collecting.

What Is My Time Frame?

Knowing how long you have to collect information is important when you’re figuring out which type of data streaming platform to use. If your goal is to monitor and act in real time, it’s important to have a platform that provides real time analytics based on what data reveals as it pours in. If your goal is to process specific chunks of data, going with a platform that offers batch processing might be a better option. Some goals require the use of both hourly and long-term benchmarks. This type of project will require a platform that can act on data today and safely store data for analysis in a few weeks, months or years.

When Will I Know a Goal Is Accomplished?

One big problem that enterprises encounter involves figuring out when data has done its job. It’s important to know how far data can take you in terms of meeting your goal. For instance, a goal may be to collect and segment data to create customer profiles. You must then decide if your goal is accomplished once those profiles are created or when certain sales goals have been met based on the use of those profiles. You also want to make sure that you have a plan in place to shift gears once a target has been converted into a customer. Failing to transition from one method to another can actually cause big data to get in the way of traditional marketing and personalized service. Having a defined end point can ensure that you’re not simply using good data to chase after bad goals.

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