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Big data continues to make its presence felt by influencing business activities across major industries worldwide. From start-ups to corporations, numerous organizations are joining the integrated digital bandwagon to provide a seamless, transparent, and accessible connection between suppliers, distributors, and consumers. As promising as this system may seem, most regions are currently encountering initial “teething issues” because of some challenges, as outlined below.
Workforce shortage of qualified and experienced data analysts. A yawning gap exists between cloud-based platforms that identify and stream data points and skilled analysts who are equipped enough to comb through the universal data to funnel out high quality points of analysis and deposit them in “data warehouses” for further analyses. While certain skills remain transferable between industries, having a foundational understanding of the industry itself, such as food safety and quality systems, would help bridge data analyses with business intelligence better.
Change management and user acceptance. The documentation and recordkeeping paradigm has certainly shifted from paper-based systems to encrypted, digital tools. As a result of rapidly evolving applications and programs, some businesses are struggling with training their teams to bring them up to speed. In addition to these changes, change management strategies will have to implement better ways to address rejections and resistances expressed by dissatisfied or frustrated end users.
Sustainability within third-world nations. From the supply chain standpoint, integrated data systems are designed to continuously communicate with one another in an automated pulse fashion. However, in the event of a power outage, which is quite common during dry spells in developing nations, documentation systems revert to manual entries that later gets logged into the data systems. Not only does this create room for errors, but it could potentially mask illegitimate activities such as food fraud.
“Data dumping” is a growing concern as servers, though limited, consume a lot of energy. We have only just chiseled the tip of the iceberg with consuming alternate renewable energy resources and it may be a bit premature at this stage to power servers and keep them running through alternate energy sources.
Growing security concerns. If it’s online, it’s on file as well and presumably, that information may outlive you. Data gets duplicated, stored, transferred, and misused without prejudice. The recent series of unfortunate events with Facebook’s privacy policies and Cisco’s network hacks illustrate even more why security will remain a growing concern among users, despite blanketed digital security and malware detection systems.
Big data integration does have its benefits. However, regions from both the supplier and consumer spectrums need to align themselves for the overarching goal to be realized and celebrated as a successful milestone.