Friday, November 19, 2010

Global Survey Reveals Companies Are Addicted to "Big Data"; Executives Report Feeling Overwhelmed by Flood of Business Data but Still Seek More, Faster

Avanade, a business technology services provider, announced the results of its global survey, "The Business Impact of Big Data," which examines executive attitudes about how enterprises are managing the exponential growth of data.

The survey, conducted by Kelton Research, reveals that big data is creating very real business challenges for executives. In fact, more than half -- 56 percent -- of C-level executives, IT decision makers and business unit leaders report they are overwhelmed by the amount of data their company manages. Many also report they are often delayed in making important decisions as a result of too much information. Forty-six percent report they have made an inaccurate business decision as a result of bad or outdated data.

Data Addiction

Despite the challenges created by the proliferation of data, executives report they desire more data and they want it faster. One in three executives believe access to even more sources of data would enable them to do their job better, while 61 percent say they still want faster access to data. According to the survey, this desire for more data and need for speed is driven by the ability to keep up with customer service expectations.

Executives do recognize there is value in the data, from improved business forecasts to reduced uncertainty in decision-making and improved competitive positioning. Sixty-one percent of companies believe the flood of data entering the enterprise fundamentally changes the way their businesses operate.

CRM and Security

When it comes to the most important kinds of data, companies report that customer relationship and sales information are critical to their strategic decision-making process. They recognize the opportunity to grow their top line revenue by harnessing customer information, and this focus is driving additional technology investments in customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Sixty-seven percent of executives have invested or are seriously considering investing in CRM in the next 12 months.

With growing data, there is also a growing requirement for data security. Seventy-eight percent of companies report that they are investing in security solutions or will do so in the next 12 months. In the public sector, pressures are even greater with 74 percent of government organizations investing in CRM and 85 percent investing in security.

Struggle to Derive Business Value

The survey also reveals a big data disconnect. Despite the increasing volume of data, pressure to keep up with customer expectations and focus on technology investments, today's companies are still struggling to see big data as a driver of real business value. On the one hand, executives surveyed say there is value in the data. On the other hand, less than half of respondents -- 46 percent -- view the available sources of data as a strategic differentiator for their organization. Rather, the majority -- 54 percent -- consider data as a consequence of doing business.

The "Business Impact of Big Data" survey was conducted by Kelton Research, an independent research firm, in August 2010, and surveyed 543 C-level executives, IT decision makers and business unit leaders at top companies located in 17 countries across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. 

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