While big data consulting has become more mainstream than it probably was five years ago, there is still untapped opportunity for consulting firms to specialize in this field. From the success stories of top consulting firms, however, it is evident that these firms approach the process of big data consulting differently. Rather than focusing on just hard numbers, these firms focus on the very essence of big data – the people behind the data. The big data cycle starts with human or social input and ends with human output. Successful consulting firms understand that acknowledging the humans behind big data is the first step to start making smarter decisions. By focusing on the people behind the data, consulting firms are able to differentiate themselves and build better client relationships.
This now brings us to the three important C’s of data that top consulting firms must focus on when it comes to big data consulting.
When a consultant works with a client, where possible, data should be collected even before the consulting engagement formally begins. A consultant should aim to start collecting helpful data and insights about a client during the RFP or bidding stage. Once an account is won, data should continue being collected during the discovery phase, as usual.
One of the most critical aspects of big data consulting is the ability of a consultant not just to collect data points, but also rapidly to connect them in order to discover valuable insights. Again, by choosing and leveraging the right tools to connect and quantify insights, consultants will be able to identify patterns, spot gaps, and recommend suitable remedial actions.
The “asset” that a consultant uses should also allow him/her to map and understand the connections between quantitative data and qualitative data with ease. The tools also need to connect data from various client stakeholders. The data collected by a consultant is a networked asset, and its value is determined by its relationships.
Consistency is key when it comes to both collecting and connecting insights for a client. A consultant – be it internal or external, is brought on board when a business is facing challenges. Rather than waiting for a challenge to turn into a crisis in order to find a fix, a consulting should collect client data consistently throughout the tenure of a project. There should be consistency with regard to the quality of data collected, quality of analysis done, and the quality of the results of data analysis.
While there are other key aspects when it comes to big data consulting, the three C’s can be thought as the foundation of a sound big data consulting process.