How can organizations benefit from the promise of big data? Brett Sheppard of data visualization company Tableau Software provides his prescription for big data success in 2013 via the website Datanami.

1. Visualize -- Examine your data using a variety of visual means in order to reveal the story your data was meant to tell. Visualization platforms can provide insights not easily extracted from a spreadsheet.

2. Simplify -- Manage your database landscape with an effective data architecture system that helps you select the proper tools for each data processing project.

3. Coexist -- Know the strengths of each data architecture element to make the best decisions about traditional versus open source options.

4. Empower -- Big data is not just for IT. People throughout the organization should be able to access and evaluate big data for the benefit of constituents. It's an idea whose time has come, Sheppard argues.

5. Integrate -- Develop the capacity to blend different kinds of data sources, regardless of how they are stored. Experts believe the successful integration of disparate data sources, like fundraising lists and social media activity, for example, factored into Obama's successful re-election in 2012.

6. Govern -- Establish policies to safeguard privacy. "Organizations that master big data will let IT set up the data architecture, security and access controls, while giving business people the ability [to] serve themselves reports and dashboards," Sheppard says.

7. Evangelize --Spread the word about the successful use of big data analytics to encourage more benefits that contribute to the mission of an organization.