Big data: Do you feel a gap in here?

We’ve talked a lot lately about the overwhelming tide of data – velocity, volume and complexity – that organizations are dealing with. SAS wanted to know how organizations are currently managing "big data," what resources would be required in the future and how to plan for those needs. The Economist Intelligence Unit, on behalf of SAS, conducted a global survey of 586 senior executives to look at the state of big data and the organizational characteristics of companies that are adept at extracting value from data. Here are some of the key findings: 

  • Strong linkage between effective data management strategy and financial performance. Companies that use data most effectively - defined as strategic data managers - stand out from the rest. Fifty-three percent of respondents in this group say their organizations achieve higher financial performance than their peers, compared with 36 percent overall. These companies recognize the significance of data: 47 percent of these survey respondents give the responsibilities for data management strategy to the CEO or another C-level business executive.
  • Extracting value from big data still elusive for many organizations. Survey results confirm that most companies have abundant and readily available data - but not well used data. Nearly one in four survey respondents said the vast majority of its company’s data are untapped. Another 53 percent say they use only half of their data; yet 73 percent say that data collection has increased in the last year.
  • Many companies struggle with the most basic aspects of data management. Nearly one-third of respondents admit to insufficient data governance practices, and many struggle to deliver important data to the right people within an acceptable timeframe. There is also a dearth of workforce skills required to sift through, analyze and develop insights from big data.
  • Strategic data managers can provide a useful model for other organizations to follow. Strategic data managers use data to identify specific measurements and data points that align closely with corporate strategic goals. They select the most appropriate data for decisions, and put a high percentage of the data they collect to use. They are also more likely to assign a C-level executive to manage data strategy, and they continue to explore emerging sources of data for potential value.

 Scott Yara, Vice-President of Products at EMC, an information infrastructure and services provider, says in the report that he thinks the era of big data is just getting started and will have major implications on how business is done worldwide. “Most companies can feel that something exciting is happening here, and they are still trying to figure out how it is different from what they have been doing. But the best companies are already able to operationalize data and are letting it pervade the organization.”

 The report concludes that there will soon be a gap between companies that are still trying to understand the implications of big data and those that are using it to transform their business. You can read the full report: Big data: Harnessing a game changing asset.

 Are you thinking about the gap? Alison Bolen has a great post about big data – the types of data and how to begin to solve the problem. Read What type of big is your data?

tags: big data, data management, Economist Intelligence Unit, EIU

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