Big Data has been talked about in almost every possible context. How it affects various industries, whether or not you can gain insight from it, which companies are actually leveraging it successfully, and so on. Now that many organizations have embraced Big Data in one way or another, what challenges or side effects do they need to watch out for?

One side effect could be perceived as the Big Data “Knowledge Drain.” For example, does the abundance of data at your company make you feel like you’re in a constant state of information overload? And because there’s so much data out there, and it may seem that nothing useful can be done with it, are you less likely to share the information you have? In a social savvy world, where sharing is commonplace, it seems that fewer people are motivated to share information in the workplace. Why contribute to the information overload if the information won’t be found and used? This “Knowledge Drain” is one potential negative side effect of Big Data.

For a real-world example, let’s look at data in the workplace. In any given company, important information is created by hundreds of employees; stored in thousands (or millions) of places. Culturally, if I am not sharing my personal data from all of the tasks I’ve completed and projects I’ve worked on, my colleagues cannot access this information for future use. It limits the variety of places the Big Data solution can analyze, undermining its success.

However, if your company has the right technology in place to search and correlate data so that it can be accessed, shared and even help make connections and spur new ideas, then it’s more likely that employees are motivated to share information so it can be reused and helpful in the future. At Coveo, we advise incorporating Big Data as part of your larger knowledge management program so that employees will share what they know and help stop the “Knowledge Drain.”