Global Survey: Big Data, Big Problems
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. Key findings show us that the data deluge is real. In fact, the majority of respondents report being overwhelmed by the amount of data in the workplace. Many employees feel constantly distracted by multiple streams of information – this is especially true of C-level executives.
Big Data – Hype or Business Reality?
Across industries, regions and companies large and small, executives report the exponential growth in data and ability to access to critical information is creating very real business challenges.More than half of business and IT executives, 56 percent, report they feel overwhelmed by the amount of data their company manages. Many report they are often delayed in making important decisions as a result of too much information.
Further, amidst the sea of data, Avanade’s research shows that one in three executives is regularly unable to find the right people who can provide the information they need when they need it. It’s clear information overload is real and causing problems for business leaders.
Despite these challenges, executives do recognize there is value in the flood of data, from improved business forecasts to reduced uncertainty in decision-making and improved competitive positioning. Sixty-one percent believe the flood of data entering the enterprise fundamentally changes the way their businesses operate.
The onslaught of data is making it difficult for executives to make decisions and it has a negative impact on IT infrastructure. Company employees and management are overwhelmed by big data. Yet, they are still asking for more and they want it faster. This begs the question: are company executives addicted to data?
Seventy percent of business leaders report their current IT infrastructure allows employees to get the data they need at the speed they need it. That said, 61 percent of all executives say they still want faster access to data. Further, one in three reports they desire even more sources of data in order to do their job better.
Executives’ first instinct appears to be grasping for faster access to data to help them cope with information overload. So why this need for speed? According to the survey, the top concern for executives is the ability to keep up with customer service expectations. Execs report customer relationship and sales information are critical to their strategic decision-making process. While speed is important, executives must seek out context for the information to ensure they understand the full scope of the customer relationship.
Executives recognize the opportunity to grow their top line by harnessing customer information and this focus 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.
Big Data Disconnect
Enterprises have an opportunity to leverage their data to create new revenue streams and generate new businesses.But alarmingly, less than half of execs view the available sources of data as a strategic differentiator for their organization.
So where’s the disconnect? Nearly half,43 percent, of all companies are dissatisfied with their current tools to filter out irrelevant data. In fact, 46 percent of companies report they have made an inaccurate business decision as a result of bad or outdated data. It is imperative that organizations address this filter failure to reduce detrimental business decisions and position themselves to be able to react quickly to business conditions.
Deriving Business Value from Big Data
So how do we get from where we are today to where we want to be? Businesses must employ a holistic approach to data management – a new approach for many – and one that focuses on the following stages in the data life cycle:
Identify: Today, every business is a digital company;and, every customer or employee is a content producer. The first step to creating business value is to prepare the enterprise to be able to quickly accommodate new data sources, then to understand where the data is coming from,who is creating it and where the content lives.
Filter: The second step is to determine what information is important and what information does not matter and provide tools and data management policies that enable staff to effectively filter information for relevance quickly. It is vital to consider how the company will use the data. Next, companies must identify what filters to apply, how to categorize the data and then, establish processes so that producers (all employees and customers) are more accountable for the information they are creating.
Distribute: Because different information is intended for different levels, locations and business units, companies must utilize a distribution mechanism that is both automated and intelligent.
Apply: Overall, businesses must evolve from data analysis to insight to prediction.Applying the right data in the right case is crucial to this evolution. Some organizations may even find opportunities to monetize data in new ways and create competitive differentiation.
Companies must develop a “data culture” where executives, employees and strategic partners are active participants in managing a meaningful data life cycle. Tomorrow’s successful companies 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 from information into 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
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