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Using Big Data for Competitive Growth

6 Apr 2016 by Bob Violino

Organizations today are dealing with large and growing amounts of diverse data. Some of this data is generated by newer sources such as mobile devices and social media, and much of it is unstructured, such as machine-generated data.

Big data, big challenges

As big data grows, so does the competition to use this data effectively to add business value. That’s why companies are looking for ways to leverage the data to discover insights into customer behavior and preferences, market trends, business operations and other areas. Making good use of these resources can help enterprises gain a big competitive advantage over other organizations.

"The trend to see and use information as an asset is still in the 'early adoption' phase, making doing so a competitive differentiator for leading organizations. But even where information leaders embraced this idea, there’s an array of challenges to transform the idea of value into a reality that benefits the organization,” according to Gartner’s report “Seven Steps to Monetizing Your Information Assets,” published October 2015.

In a survey conducted by Capgemini Consulting last November, the 226 analytics, IT and business professionals who responded said big data implementation challenges include data silos, a lack of coordination between different groups and ineffective data governance.

Big data spending plans

Industry research indicates big data and analytics already are high priorities for businesses and are delivering value for organizations. For example, a study by Forbes Insights, based on a global survey of 316 executives conducted in spring 2015, shows 59% of the respondents consider big data and analytics either a “top five” business issue or the single most important way to achieve a competitive advantage.

Companies clearly are investing lots of money in big data and analytics technology. According to an International Data Corp. (IDC) report from November 2015, the market for big data infrastructure, software and services will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23% over the 2014 to 2019 forecast period, with annual spending reaching $48.6 billion in 2019.

All three major big data submarkets (infrastructure, software and services) are expected to grow over the next five years, the report says. As big data matures, IDC expects its share of the business analytics market will increase.

While the business drivers, barriers and potential benefits from deploying big data initiatives vary depending on industry, these efforts “are primarily focused on delivering a better customer experience, supporting product and service innovation, and optimizing business processes,” IDC says.

Other companies’ big data

In a study from earlier in 2015, IDG Enterprise found that during the previous year, the number of organizations with deployed data-driven projects had increased by 125%. Enterprise organizations invest significantly more in data-driven initiatives than small and medium-sized businesses ($13.8 million compared with $1.6 million), according to the report, based on an online survey of 1,139 global organizations that are currently implementing, planning or considering big data projects.

Other findings were that organizations place greater priority on structured data initiatives compared with unstructured data; the majority of organizations planned to invest in data analytics, as they expect to gain the most business value from its solutions; and confidence in security solutions and products for company data increased from 49% in 2014 to 66% in 2015.

Do you have a big data strategy? Get started on one today. We're offering Gartner’s report, “Seven Steps to Monetizing Your Information Assets,” free to help you get ahead in today’s digital world.