Recently while walking down the street in Chicago, I pulled out my latest and greatest smartphone and launched my bank's mobile application in the hopes that it would be able to direct me to the nearest bank branch. Much to my chagrin, while my bank's mobile application worked flawlessly (and indeed the application proudly had a branch locator on the first screen), my phone was not so cooperative. While at a full five bars of signal strength, I was unable to get a data connection anywhere. I walked up the street, down the alley and over to another street, still unable to get a data connection. Eventually I found a bank branch nearby but with no assistance at all from my not-so-smart phone. This same scenario of being unable to get a data connection played out over and over during my trip and reminded me of one simple fact: not enough foresight and planning went in to the development of the current mobile phone data networks to be able to handle the onslaught of data requests originating from all the smartphones that have saturated the market in recent years.

While many view this as a mobile network problem since there just isn’t enough available network bandwidth to handle all the new data-hungry mobile apps, I actually believe it’s the same BigData related problem that has plagued IT teams for years, and that’s an issue of poor planning, poor design and lack of scalability. I’m not here to criticize the mobile phone carriers for their lack of forethought on the impact of smartphones to their networks; I’m just using this as a simple example to demonstrate how lack of planning and scalability can have a severe negative ripple effect in an otherwise well-intentioned design.

No matter if you are building a CRM system or marketing database to house a few customer records, designing a business intelligence reporting system to be able to demonstrate the performance of your most recent multichannel marketing programs or simply creating a mobile application for your customers, you must first take a step back and ensure that you’ve done the proper amount of planning and design upfront because if you wait until after the development is done and you realize that you have a BigData handling problem that you otherwise did not have the foresight to predict, it’s going to be not only much more costly to fix, but you also risk the potential of a failed project, or worse yet, loss of customers if the problem has a detrimental effect on their ability to do business with you.  BigData problems are the result of small thinking and can be overcome with a little research, a little planning and a good scalable design of systems from the beginning.