Are Big Data and Analytics Finally Earning the Respect They Deserve?

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Big Data and Analytics Finally Earning the Respect

Want to get executives excited about all the possibilities of big data and analytics? Make it personal for them. That is, those business leaders – from the CEO on down – who make analytics part of their jobs are the most likely to be delivering results for their businesses as a result. Those data analytics projects that remain mired in departments or among quants themselves are less likely to be translating these efforts to business success.

That’s the gist of a new survey of 316 C-level executives, published by Forbes Insights and underwritten by Teradata, which shows growing acceptance within executive suites. The good news is that business leaders are finally taking notice of big data, analytics, and the advantages they’re capable of delivering. These benefits are even more pronounced in organizations where there is C-level executive leadership of big data and analytics.

“Big data and analytics initiatives are finally earning the respect they deserve,” the report’s authors state. “More and more organizations are recognizing the power of deriving value from the digital universe’s vast volumes of data. Tellingly, a solid majority of respondents, 59%, consider big data and analytics either a top five issue or the single most important way to achieve a competitive advantage.”

Accordingly, investments are flowing into big data and analytics efforts as well. Across all categories of investment, about 90% of organizations report medium to high levels of investment, and about a third call their investment “very significant,” the report states.

The main barriers to achieving competitive advantage through big data and analytics are cultural, strategic and operational, the survey also finds.  Just over half of respondents reveal that the idea of a data-driven strategy is not universally accepted in their organizations, citing adapting and refining a data-driven strategy as the single biggest cultural barrier.

Big data and analytics are still in the formative stages across many enterprises. The survey shows that only 53% of executives surveyed report that their companies’ big data and analytics capabilities are “above par” or “best of breed.” Another one-third of respondents consider themselves average, and six percent say that they are underperforming compared with industry peers. Among data scientists in the survey, only eight percent consider their organization’s big data analytics capabilities best of breed, while 10% regard them as above average.

It takes strong leadership, knowledge sharing and C-level support to move forward with big data and analytics, the survey also confirms. In organizations where big data is viewed as the single most important way to gain a competitive advantage, more than half, 51%, have CEOs who personally focus on big data initiatives. Also, companies that have established data and analytics positions at the C-level are more likely to have above-average data analytics capabilities. In addition, by a two-thirds majority, executives acknowledge that big data and analytics initiatives have had a significant, measurable impact on revenues.

(Disclosure: the author is a contributor to Forbes Insights, but was not involved in the creation of this report.)

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  • TechYogJosh

    The cultural aspects are indeed tough to counter, however, not insurmountable. If the business leaders see the inevitable value and the great force big data can bring to the business, they will buy into the idea. Technology players need to educate the clients by developing ready-made PoCs and solutions that can quickly plug-in into the client’s environment so that the business leaders can be quickly shown the value they can derive out of big data. Therefore, rather than an excessive focus on marketing on on-ground sales, technology players should focus on developing point solutions that can be deployed quickly with a client, with no charge build in upfront, and be used to demonstrate value.