How much big data training do you need to sell big data solutions? The big data sale has multiple components: selling big data insight and addressing executive business problems; working with IT to create a big data architecture; and either providing or finding the resources to do big data development to deliver analytics. Big data training actually falls under all three areas, so where do you need to hone your skills?
Gartner forecasts that by 2015 there will 4.4 million IT jobs created worldwide to support big data, and 1.9 million of those jobs will be in the United States. However, there isn’t enough big data talent available. The universities are still catching up on Hadoop and big data programming. McKinsey predicts the U.S. will have a shortfall of 140,000 to 190,000 data scientists by 2018, as well as a shortage of 1.5 million data analysts.
As part of your big data training strategy, you need to be able to fill that void by both selling big data value and helping IT fill the talent gap to support big data.
The Two Sides of Big Data Training
When considering how to shorten the big data sales cycle, it might be helpful to think of big data training in two ways: the value sale and the implementation sale.
The value sale is made at the higher levels of the organization: the CEO, CFO, CIA, CSO, CMO, Senior VP of Sales, and others who are struggling with real business and want to harness big data to provide hard information to guide decision-making. Big data has tangible value because of the insight it can provide, and your big data training should show you how to think about big data in strategic terms so you can align the right big data resources to address the business problem. To shorten the sales cycle, you need to know how to sell big data insight.
Then there is the implementation sale. This is more about working with IT to help them assess their existing data and enterprise systems and determine what new resources are needed for the big data project to succeed. Big data will require more storage, more processing power, and more virtualization, and big data technical training will tell you how to configure data storage, implement parallel processing, build in security, and so forth.
Both aspects of big data training go hand-in-hand, although that doesn’t mean you have to master them both. You need to understand enough of the mechanics of big data implementation so as not to overcommit in the value sale; and you need to understand how to align senior executive expectations with enterprise capabilities. Get the big data expertise you need to master your part of the sale, and partner with others with big data knowledge that complements yours. Big data selling requires teamwork.
Where to Find the Right Big Data Training
So where do you go for big data training? EMC, IBM, and other big data vendors are offering their own certification programs. These types of programs can be very useful for learning the ropes of big data, how to sell the technology, and the basics of big data infrastructure.
Of course, these programs are geared toward vendors’ proprietary big data platforms. Big data is sufficiently big that you will likely need to integrate technologies from various solution providers. So if you are looking for a single resource that can provide a more neutral approach to big data, find a solution provider better equipped to address end-to-end solutions. (Ingram Micro offers all the big data pieces you need, and we can show you how they go together.)
There are more universities and technical schools starting to offer classes in Hadoop and NoSQL programming to train the next generation of big data scientists and programmers. Cloudera and other vendors also offer Hadoop certification and training. You might consider training members of your existing team in big data programming, many of their current skills will adapt well to Hadoop, NoSQL, and other frameworks.
No matter how you choose to approach big data training, if you want to shorten your sales cycle and improve your chances of big data success, then divide and conquer. Train your sales team to make the executive pitch for big data at the same time you are adapting your networking and software teams to work with IT to deliver big data analytics. More than any other kind of technology sale, big data requires different levels of expertise, so don’t be shy about asking for help from Ingram Micro or other providers. When you get the right big data training we all win in the end.