Don’t let ‘big data’ scare you off your next project

Written on Oct 26, 2017

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA content manager

Joel_StephensThe term “big data,” can scare people when it comes to using it at their job. Joel Stephens said that’s common, especially among those who aren’t the most tech savvy.

“They understand how to use their computer but they hear ‘big data’ and think they have to have a team of 5,000 people to pull off that type of project,” he said. “And that’s not the case.”

Stephens, CEO of Switchbox Inc., will present “Practical Implementation of Big Data,” at the upcoming Columbus Accounting Show. He’ll discuss the skill sets needed to take on big data projects and how to make it appealing to a non-technical audience.

“Technology is intruding on more and more businesses that are not typically tech-savvy,” he said.

Drawing from his own experience, Stephens said he’ll discuss the product his company built for the state of Ohio to compile nine years of financial data.

“From when the project started I’ll talk about the objective, how we found the data and what were some of the hurdles,” he said.

Stephens said one of the common mistakes made when it comes to big data is not targeting the right people. He said it’s important to consider who will be consuming the data after you’re finished, and focus on how it will make sense to that specific group.

“My hope is that when the audience leaves they’ll feel a lot better and realize big data is not scary,” Stephens said. “Or if they have a project they’re thinking about with big data instead of avoiding it they’ll say they have an idea of where to begin.”

Register for the Columbus Accounting Show here.

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