Are Nordic companies maturing their big data journey?


For years, large geographical regions such as the US and the UK have experimented with big data analytics to gain true business advantages – creating an opportunity to adapt better to customer demands, to optimize business models and to mitigate risk. Meanwhile, most companies in the Nordic countries have been in a watch-and-wait mode and not set out on a big data journey to adopt technologies such as Hadoop.

During the past year, SAS Institute has experienced an increasing interest from organizations anxious to do more with the vast variety of data available to them. For this reason, SAS decided to take the temperature of the adoption of Hadoop technologies and big data analytics in the Nordic region as well as the maturity by country and industry, and what the primary causes, use cases and obstacles are at present.

In December 2014, we conducted telephone interviews and an online survey with more than 300 IT managers from companies across industries in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland.

We found that 85% of companies in the Nordic region have a growing need for performing analytics on more data, and 6 out of 10 see a need to collect new types of data (such as clickstream, machine log, text, sensor, social media, videos and images).

The Nordics companies know that it is time to consider a new approach. As much as 92% believe they will gain competitive business advantages if they have a broader information picture for analytics and business decisions. Especially customer and market Intelligence, operational efficiency and innovation/R&D are key areas for setting out on a big data journey and consider adopting a technology such as Hadoop as a platform for exploitative analytics. Moving volume marketing to a more personal approach will open up for new markets, products and ways to grow a company.

This is all good. However, only half of the companies believe they have an infrastructure capable of meeting these needs and demands today. But Nordic companies are ramping up. According to the survey, 9% of the companies either have or are about to install Hadoop, and this adoption seems to double in 2015 – taking shadow IT into consideration, these numbers might be higher.

The need for information, faster, to make timely decisions on new and changing market opportunities, customer expectations and risks is a factor of which most of the organizations are aware. Yet only 13% believe they meet these demands satisfactorily today – and what happens when you include more data and new types of data?

A couple of reasons for the slower adoption of big data platforms such as Hadoop, in the Nordic region, seems to be concerns about the need to acquire new resources and skills not currently in the organization as well as uncertainty about the technology maturity.

What we experience is that the technology has matured and has a proven record – and in many cases, organizations already have people with insight in data and analytics. So is this just a matter of others to show how it should be done, and does the real issue more likely concern who actually owns a big data analytics initiative within the organization?

Maybe not surprisingly, companies within telecommunications and financial services are the most mature, leading the way in the Nordic region. The midsize and large companies in several other industries follow suit – and as more and more companies mature, organize themselves and show their competitive edge by adopting big data analytics – the buzz will disappear.

Learn more about the finding from the Nordic survey


About Author

Flemming Bagger

Head of Information Management / Data Management, Strategy

Flemming Bagger has more than 20 years of related work experience in solution sales and business development primarily of IT software and services within information management and business analytics. He has 6 years of experience in various leadership positions in Denmark and Nordics implementing the business strategy and drive customer value. Flemming works as Head of Strategy & Architecture in the Nordic Enterprise Analytics CoE with a focus on data and analytics that drives successful business outcomes.

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