Big Data, Big Problems

November 10, 2010
199 Views

In the global marketplace, businesses and employees are creating and consuming more information than ever before. Gartner predicts that enterprise data in all forms will grow 650 percent over the next five years, while IDC claims the entire world’s data doubles every 18 months.

In the global marketplace, businesses and employees are creating and consuming more information than ever before. Gartner predicts that enterprise data in all forms will grow 650 percent over the next five years, while IDC claims the entire world’s data doubles every 18 months.

According to “The Business Impact of Big Data,” a new global survey of C-level executives and IT decision makers commissioned by Avanade, this data deluge is creating very real challenges for business leaders.

Big Data – Hype or Business Reality?

Across industries, regions and companies, executives report that the exponential growth in data is impacting their ability to access critical information. According to the report, more than half of business and IT executives, 56 percent, report they feel overwhelmed by the amount of data their company manages. And, many report they are often delayed in making important decisions as a result of too much information.

Despite these challenges, executives are recognizing some value in the deluge of data. For instance, sixty-one percent believe the flood of data entering the enterprise fundamentally changes the way their business operates.

Data Addiction

Although the onslaught of data is making it difficult for executives to make decisions, they are still asking for more, and they want it even faster. This desperation for getting the right information to make business decisions is driving executives to feel more pressure to consume even more information – begging the question: are executives addicted to data? The following data points would argue the answer is yes.

  • 70 percent of business leaders report their current IT infrastructure allows employees to get the data they need at the speed they need it.
  • But, 61 percent of executives say they still want faster access.
  • 1 in 3 say they desire even more sources of data in order to perform their job better.

For many, this data addiction is driven by the inability to find the right information. In fact, a recent industry report demonstrated that during the latest recession, more than one-quarter of executives lost business because they couldn’t access the right information.  It is the lack of correct information that is causing executives to search for more – creating an addictive behavior.

So what kind of information are executives most concerned about? According to the survey, executives’ top priority is the ability to keep up with customer service expectations. And, when it comes to perceptions on the most important kinds of data, customer information remains top priority. This focus on customers is driving technology investments in CRM systems – 67 percent of executives have invested, or are seriously considering investing in CRM in the next 12 months.

Executives are recognizing the opportunity to leverage their data in order to create new revenue streams and generate new businesses, especially when it comes to customers. But alarmingly, less than half of execs view the available sources of data as a strategic differentiator for their organization, and struggle to see big data as a driver of real business value.

Deriving Business Value from Big Data  

So how do we get from where we are today to where we want to be? It is imperative that companies develop a “data culture,” in which executives, employees and strategic partners are active participants in managing a meaningful data lifecycle. Companies need to start educating their employees on how to best participate in this process.

This journey is not just a technology challenge. It is also a people and process problem. It takes a culture shift among the people who are interacting with the data – whether they are producing or consuming – to be more responsible and accountable for the management of the data itself.

Tomorrow’s successful organizations will be equipped to harness new sources of information and take responsibility over accurate data creation and maintenance. This will enable businesses to turn data first into usable information and ultimately into true business insights.

—-

The Global Survey of Big Data was conducted by Kelton Research, an independent research firm on behalf of Avanade, in August 2010. Avanade provides business technology services that connect insight, innovation and expertise in Microsoft technologies to help customers realize results. For more details on this research or to download a copy of the findings, please visit www.avanade.com/bigdata