When it comes to overcoming obstacles, it's all about perspective and attitude. But, for many companies, Big Data often seems too daunting to surmount. With so much customer information flowing into any given organization, companies are overwhelmed by both the wealth of insight and the competitive market. Yet, while Big Data has become the buzzword of the moment, garnering the interest of sales, marketing, and IT professionals alike, most are doing just that—talking, not doing. In many instances, companies aren't even sure where to begin.

"Everyone talks about it and very few people really know how to do it, but everyone thinks everyone else is doing it, so everyone claims they're doing it," says Michael DeLeonardis, vice president, insights and benchmarking for Xactly. "Companies need to take a step back and determine what they're trying to achieve with Big Data and how they can realistically get there. The concept can be so daunting that many companies are biting off more than they can chew. With Big Data projects, it's important to start with achievable goals that can result in early wins, and then build on those successes. Many start, hit roadblocks, and then are at a standstill on where to go next." 

Ultimately, Big Data's name may be the most problematic trigger, for "big" can cloud perception, leading companies to believe that this onslaught of customer information was huge and sudden. But, as Matti Aksela, vice president, analytics at Comptel, emphasizes, Big Data is just a new term for something that has been happening for years. "The growth in data volumes, as well as data generation speed, was around long before anyone coined the term," he says. "And over time, we will continue to see data volumes dwarf what we have now."