Big data is taking the business world by storm, and its high time corporate managers and decision makers began planning an education regimen to quickly get up to speed, and reap the rewards of this hot new technology.
I’ve compiled the following list of free, educational, big data resources oriented toward a management perspective (read: not too technical). They provide a foundation for managers to better understand how they can benefit from big data technology. One great source of management-level education on big data is right here on BDR, but you probably already know that. There is life beyond BRD however, so let’s take a look at what’s out there.
A good starting point for educating yourself on the accelerating field of big data is to join one or more local Meetup.com groups with a focus on this area. Just visit Meetup.com and sign up for an account. As part of your profile, you can specify your location, so when you search for a local group using the search term “big data,” only groups local to you will be provided.
I used the site’s Global search and found a sizable number of local big data groups over a wide geographical area. As an example, here is a good group I found for my location of Los Angeles.
Another resource for getting a management perspective of the big data scene is LinkedIn, which has many special interest groups with a big data focus.
You can learn a lot by monitoring the forums, plus, you can ask questions specific to your needs. My favorite is the Big Data/Analytics/Strategy group, which is also the most active big data LinkedIn group. LinkedIn is a good way to learn about upcoming conferences, and attending conferences is also a great way to educate yourself.
Don’t forget Youtube as a great resource for learning. A quick search on “Big Data” with Youtube yields a long list of videos of varying degrees of difficulty. As an example, the “What is Big Data” part 1 and 2 videos by IBM constitute a great introduction to the subject for any manager. In a similar vein, there is “What is Big Data,” by Explainingcomputers.com, another good introduction for say, a C-level executive.
A well-written whitepaper is a concise way to learn about specific areas of big data. Many leading industry publications provide whitepapers to enhance the learning experience. Information Week, for example, offers "Big Data: Harnessing a Game Changing Asset" (registration required).
Taking in a webinar is another viable educational resource, as many big data vendors produce quality webinars on a regular basis. Rather than scouring the web for pertinent webinars, an excellent way to learn about new offerings is to follow @BigDataWebinars on Twitter, or check this site's Big Data Republic Webinars section.
The blogosphere is alive with big data educational content. Check out the aggregator of big data blogs, Planet Big Data, to get a handle of everything that’s available.
Then, there's the granddaddy of big data educational resources: Big Data University, which offers a number of non-technical and technical courses for those needing a more structured approach for learning. The “Big Data Analytics – Demos” course is a good choice for managers, as it provides scenarios and demos showing big data analytics at work.
With all these resources, there’s no excuse to delay. If you’re a manager in an enterprise with data assets ripe for analysis, take the first step now. Select one of these resources and get started. If you know of any additional management-level educational resources, please leave a note to let us all know.
User Rank: Exabyte Executive 12/13/2012 | 1:07:06 AM
Re: Do the C Level Really need to know? Nice list that you've compiled here, Dan. I think it would be beneficial overall for C-level officials to stay in the loop and dip their toes into Big Data. It's free after all and it might prove to be beneficial for them and the firm in general in the long run.
Re: Do the C Level Really need to know? I estimate that more and more, C-level execs find themselves unable to keep their heads in the sand with respect to IT. Big Data has made this even more untenable. Better utilization of corporate data assets for increased strategic advantage requires awareness starting at the very top of all organizations. I think any sort of stagnation is a thing of the past. Here is a case in point article that highlights how Sears and other large concerns are taking Big Data quite seriously. The C-level personnel seem to be leading the charge.
User Rank: Blogger 12/12/2012 | 5:12:00 AM
Re: Do the C Level Really need to know? Is it fair to say that any C-level worth their salt should already have a fair grasp of IT, and so this won't be too big a jump for them @Daniel? To that, could it seperate the C-level members who are really prepared for growth and expansion from those who are stagnating?
User Rank: Exabyte Executive 12/11/2012 | 3:13:23 PM
Re: Do the C Level Really need to know? The C-level needs to be able to discuss big data intelligently, and to guide their respective organizations in big data decisions. And we probably need to explain the advantages of big data. We don't need to become analysts, but we do need to educate ourselves because big data, Saas and the cloud will change the face of internal IT.
Re: Do the C Level Really need to know? A fair question @Saul and one that many companies need to consider realistically. I think that any technology that could have a major, positive impact on a business should be under the purview of C-level management. Just like management should be intimately aware of the benefits (not necessarily technology details) of say a new supply chain technology, or manufacturing process, so too is the case with Big Data. I suppose my perspective originates from the belief that Big Data is a significantly disruptive advent into creating more competitive advantage from something a company already owns - their valuable data assets.
User Rank: Blogger 12/11/2012 | 11:42:57 AM
Re: Do the C Level Really need to know? This past June, CSO Insights surveyed 218 chief executive officers, chief security officers, sales executives and managers to determine the impact of big data on sales performance. At the time, only half the respondents said they were familiar with the term, "big data." I would hope that if they were surveyed now, that more than half would know what it refers to. Then, of course, there is the next step of actually learning its uses, and the step after that is figureing out how to apply it improving one's business.
User Rank: Blogger 12/11/2012 | 10:15:00 AM
Do the C Level Really need to know? @Daniel is it really that important that C-Level guys have a good grasp of this? I'm not sure they will be given anymore time to conquer this new side of the business venture around their regular duties. Maybe the next gen of leaders will have it built in, but it iwll be a big ask for the current set.