Navigating the Complexities of Big Data’s Benefits

It’s apparent that big data and next-generation analytics are revolutionizing business and delivering once unimaginable insights. A new report from CompTIA, Big Data Insights and Opportunities, reveals that 72 percent of companies with a big data initiative have achieved results that exceeded expectations. Moreover, 31 percent of companies are exactly where they want to be with data, up from only 18 percent in 2013.

That’s the good news. Yet, the report also notes that there is no shortage of challenges facing organizations. According to CompTIA, which polled 402 professionals in the big data arena, only percent of business unit workers think their organization is on the right track, compared to 42 percent of executives and 31 percent of IT employees. Moreover, only about half of all organizations have some sort of big data initiative in place.

Obviously, business and IT leaders have very different perceptions—though the final destination is the same. CIOs and other enterprise leaders must get serious about big data. Capgemini consultant Goutham Belliappa believes that companies that don’t get on the big data train soon place themselves at serious risk. In fact, he goes so far as to describe the current environment an “existential threat.”

The CompTIA report confirms the challenge. Consider: in 2014 devices such as PCs, tablets, smartphones and other machines generated about 60 exabytes of data per month. By 2019, the figure will rise to approximately 170 exabytes per month, the information technology industry association predicts.

More importantly, all of this data — both structured and unstructured and emanating from a dizzying array of sources — is critical to operating an organization effectively. The report found that 63 percent of organizations now rely on big data for day-to-day operations, 60 percent use data to better understand customers, and 59 percent tap it to measure business objectives.

Interestingly, the study found that the biggest gaps between where organizations are and where they want to be revolve around: relationship analysis (13 percent), remote or mobile organizational shortcomings most frequently result from poor data management practices or breakdowns in the data analysis process, CompTIA noted.

A final sobering finding: Only about half of the organizations reported that they have the skills to navigate big data and operate in an environment such as Hadoop. If you’re organization falls into this category, it’s time to rethink things and look for help. Says Belliappa: “Success in today’s business environment revolves around extracting the value from data. It’s an area that cannot be ignored.”

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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