Big data is an important topic as it is affecting businesses of all sizes and changing the way companies are analyzing information and making decisions. We see it as the intersection of the amount of data created from new sources, both structured operational data in the enterprise like CRM (Customer Relationship Management) systems and unstructured information such as social feeds, and the velocity at which this information is created and consumed. It’s this intersection that also defines the big data challenge and opportunities.
In 2010 we commissioned a global survey which showed the key challenges created by big data and the pain points being felt by businesses to manage and understand the extent of it. Now we can reveal the results of our second big data survey which show how far businesses have moved on to find ways to benefit from their data – yet some challenges remain.
The new research findings highlight executive attitudes and adoption trends surrounding big data. The survey has shown that the investments companies are making to manage big data are paying off. In fact, 73% of companies have already used big data to increase revenue by growing existing revenue streams or creating entirely new sources of revenue.
The most forward-looking companies are empowering more people across the enterprise with the tools and skills needed to take advantage of big data. Our survey shows that the technologies and skills used to leverage big data in the enterprise have reached a tipping point.
Although big data is an area that is being heavily invested in (91% are using tools to manage and analyse big data), there is a growing skills shortage and lack of understanding in how to manage it and get the most out of it effectively. Some may argue that the growing amount of available technology, tools and data analysts (95% sit outside of IT) are enough, but the survey shows that 63% feel their company needs to develop new skills to turn data into business insights and 85% report obstacles in managing it.
Beyond tangible business value, evidence shows big data has become pervasive – more types of employees have more access to more technology options to manage and analyse data. Today, 58% of respondents say data management is now embedded throughout their business operations. And the majority of companies surveyed (57% said in just the last 12 months, more technology options became available to analyze and manage data.
However, the efficient predictive analytics capability is still to be built as 75 percent of survey respondents say that their company will make additional investments to improve their ability to analyse data within the next 12 months, including technologies such as predictive analytics tools, mobile data access and management tools and cloud-based storage.
Most interestingly, 84% of respondents report big data helps them make better business decisions. This is a significant improvement compared to our last survey that showed that 46% of the executives surveyed, mentioned that they had taken wrong decisions due to either outdated or incorrect data. With the large amounts of respondents stating that skills need to be developed to harness the potential of big data, it is evident that there is still work to be done in really harnessing the value of the data. Furthermore, changes in the way we work – driven by trends such as the consumerization of IT – is only making things even more challenging. Our survey showed a trio of major trends – mobile business intelligence, cloud computing and social networking – causing companies to rethink their data management strategy.
What seems apparent is that companies are beginning to see real value from big data. While challenges remain, the opportunities are even greater and business leaders are becoming more proactive in their data management strategies. Forward-looking companies are empowering more people across the enterprise with the tools and skills needed to make better business decisions and ultimately, harness the power that big data promises.
By Christophe Caquineau, Avanade, Vice President Business Intelligence Solutions, EALA
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