First you must ask the question: Are you serious about big data or not? You can’t be half in and half out on big data projects. It’s a commitment and investment that yields awesome results, but it may take you a bit to get there.
Now we look at what talent you have that is capable of starting a project like this. Do you have anyone on staff that is capable of building the infrastructure and analyzing that data? We know that all the data in the world won’t tell you anything unless you have the right people to analyze it. So, do you have the talent on staff to build that infrastructure and analyze the data or not? If you don’t, do you have anyone on staff that knows enough to hold vendors accountable for their deliverables and can spot when things aren’t going right, with legitimacy?
If you’re going the vendor route, you need to start asking how fast you want to start to see results from this project and how much money you are willing to put on the table to get there and what kind of returns on that investment can be expected.
You also want to really inventory what data you are collecting and what all the data sources are that you’re interested in bringing together on this project. This may be a good starting point for the bidding process if you’re looking to use a vendor.
My favorite quote tells it all:
With too little data, you won’t be able to make any conclusions that you trust. With loads of data you will find relationships that aren’t real… Big data isn’t about bits, it’s about talent.