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Firms struggling to make sense of Big Data – study

8th Jul 2013
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Despite the hype surrounding Big Data, a concerning number of firms are unsure of its ability to help tie silod data together across the organisation.

Econsultancy and Lynchpin surveyed nearly 900 businesses and found just 49% (16% said ‘yes, definitely’ and a further 33% said ‘Yes, maybe’) think that Big Data will help them join up disparate sources of information across their organisations.  

A further 10% claimed that Big Data would not help and a further 8% said ‘Big Data is a pointless marketing term’, whilst another third (33%) didn’t know if it would help or not, indicating a lack of knowledge about what the term means. 

In addition, qualitative responses to a question about the impact of big data on the role of web analysts found that little if nothing had changed within the vast majority of companies, indicating that the hype surrounding the term is likely to be without merit, said the report.

Unsurprisingly then, just 26% of those surveyed said they have increased their technology budgets as a result of Big Data, compared to 41% who haven’t done so.

And in terms of strategy, just one fifth of respondents have in place a company-wide plan tying their data collection and analysis to business objectives – with the figure shown to have dropped 2% to 20% from the same report last year.

Lynchpin MD, Andrew Hood, said:  “The survey findings suggest that progress in extracting real business value from data is stalling. An optimistic view of that might be that the pace of technical change and volume of data available is simply outpacing an underlying real growth in the valuable application of analysis. 

“A less optimistic view would be that a lot of fundamentals around alignment of data and resources with organisational objectives are still absent. And, worse still, that the expansion and diversification of the analytics technology sector risks throwing petrol on the fire, a rather scary alternative interpretation of the ‘data is the new oil’ cliché.”

Econsultancy senior research analyst, Andrew Warren-Payne, added: “With many companies still having a long way to go in using their current analytics tools to their fullest potential, the prospect of investing significant sums in further analytical technology (particularly those that process unstructured data of a variety of types and forms) is likely to be some time off.

“Many marketers have no idea why big data may be relevant to their organisation, or even whether it is a useful term.”

However, similar research into Big Data projects from Kapow Software recently showed that the majority of organisations agree that Big Data offers helps businesses make better decisions and foster a data-driven organization but the majority are failing to make their projects a success.

According to the survey of over 200 business and IT leaders, 85% said they believe that Big Data enables firms to stay ahead of market trends, provide competitive advantage, improves customer satisfaction, increases employee productivity and improves information security or compliance.

But, despite this, half of respondents (52%) rate Big Data project success so far as lukewarm whilst only 23% of them perceive them to be a success. 

And it’s not just business and IT leaders who are struggling to extract value from their Big Data project. Recent research revealed that marketers also lack the skills to extract information and fail to understand customer needs as a result.

According to the survey, which polled 409 consumers and 257 marketing executives, 45% of marketers said they lack the capacity for analysing Big Data with half claiming they have inadequate budgets for database management


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