Driving Business Outcomes Through Big Data

Driving Business Outcomes Through Big Data

A year ago, a friend who was at the time the CIO for major manufacturing company told me that CEOs and CFOs are soon going to start complaining that the information garnered from their Big data projects is not making them more money. To make more money, this CIO said Big data results need to be converted into some form of action. To do this, my friend said that the results need to be proactive and cut the time to execution. Simply put, he said big data in the end needs to enable enterprises to generate value different than competitors.

Personally, I see big data as the spearhead of digital disruption. Klaus Schwab puts it this way in his book “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”. “The digital age is about accessing and using data, refining the products and experiences, and moving to a world of continual adjustment and refinement” (The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Klaus Schwab, page 53).

To understand what organizations that are succeeding are doing differently with big data, a comprehensive survey was recently conducted of US and European executives with active big data initiatives. The goal for this survey was to discover the critical differences between companies that have achieved business value from their big data initiatives and those that have not done so. Importantly, only 27% of those surveyed indicated their Big data projects had already achieved profitable and only 45% indicated they’re at the break-even stage. Few said that they had achieved all of their goals. “Like any other technology, Big data initiatives will fail unless there is a clear business strategy,” said a German retail analytics executive, during an interview conducted for this report. “Once the business needs were identified, we were able to develop a solid roadmap. Our approach was a success as we were able to provide a clear business case for the challenges we needed to address.”

How the big data vanguard delivers business value

Big data holds the key to creating insights-driven enterprises. There definite steps to moving from a proof of concept to operationally embedded initiative that delivers tangible business value. From the data, it seems clear an unwavering commitment to governing, integrating, relating, mastering, and securing the data is data. The data as well resulted in a series of best practices for those wanting to excel in delivery value from their big data initiatives:

  • Define digital business objectives and design a strategy roadmap that harnesses new data assets to achieve these objectives
  • Appreciate and understand how value is derived from data.
  • Create powerful, active data governance.
  • Work towards a dynamic, data-driven culture.
  • Establish a robust platform that delivers insights ‘on demand’ to business users

Parting Remarks

I have just touching at the surface of what is contained in the survey. The survey has detailed statistics regarding those that are leading and lagging in big data. It also has a series of lessons learned from early big data adopters. As well, it provides the common traits of companies that are achieving success with their big data initiatives. If you are in process or a big data initiative as a majority of companies are, you can learn more by clicking this link.


  • Fraschi

    I couldn’t agree more – it is about having a business strategy. But isn’t the real challenge rather related to the fact that It is considered a dump tool. It “should do it”. It is, if at all, considered an enabler who is probably considered to be on the level of a machinist on a big ocean cruiser.
    Developing a business strategy without the direct involvement of the IT won’t work. The tools we have don’t come with a Wikipedia entry which tells you what it can do. IT solutions can probably do anything if configured properly.
    Hence I would argue that attitude and approach towards IT need to get changed in order to make Big Data a success.