Big Data = Big Challenges

By Samuel Greengard

Digital technologies have introduced a level of disruption that is unprecedented in the history of business. A new survey conducted by Accenture and GE offers this nugget: 66 percent of executives believe they could lose their market position within the next three years if they do not adopt big data.

Is there a lot of hype around big data? Yes. Is it a complex and confusing Middle Earth of information technology? Absolutely. Does it introduce new challenges revolving around talent and security? No question.

The one thing that isn’t in question is how critical it is for organizations to develop a sound big data strategy and forge ahead. The good news? Executives recognize the opportunities associated with data and analytics. An overwhelming 88 percent of the executives surveyed stated that big data is a top priority for their company. Lighting a fire under these executives is the fact that 93 percent see new market entrants using big data to differentiate themselves.

The not-so-good news? Only 29 percent of executives report that they are using big data for predictive analytics or to optimize their business. By now, it should be clear that the future of business hinges on an organization’s ability to understand capricious customers, fast-changing market conditions, and a dizzying array of factors and variables, often using sensor and machine data to snap things into context.

In addition, 51 percent of the companies in the survey said they lack plans to create new business opportunities that could generate additional revenue streams through their big data strategy. Incredibly, 40 percent aren’t looking to increase their profitability by using big data analytics to improve resource management.

The upshot? Many organizations and CIOs are struggling to make sense of big data and formulate a viable strategy. But it’s something that needs to be prioritized. “To get there, many [organizations] must work through a multitude of issues to use their machine data for more advanced forms of predictive data analytics,” says Matt Reilly, a senior managing director at Accenture. This includes, he says, “sourcing the right analytics talent to ensure effective execution and scaling of analytics programs.”

In the end, it’s not a question of whether big data will revolutionize business and industry. It’s a question of who the winners and losers will be. CIOs must take the lead in building a big data framework focused on agility, flexibility and rapid decision-making.

About the Author

Samuel Greengard is a contributing writer for CIO Insight. To read his previous CIO Insight blog post, “Chips and Tablets Don’t Digest,” click here.

Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard
Samuel Greengard writes about business, technology and other topics. His book, The Internet of Things (MIT Press) was released in the spring of 2015.

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