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  April 28th, 2016 | Written by

Big Data Looms Large for Companies Worldwide

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  • Over half of global companies in survey agreed that big data represents a business opportunity.
  • Only 23 percent of global companies in survey had a clear big-data strategy.
  • Survey: 76 percent of companies plan to maintain or increase big-data investments.

A survey among close to 1200 professionals across different industries shows that while more than half recognize the importance of big data, only a quarter is able to achieve productivity gains.

Over half agreed that big data represents a business opportunity, while only 23 percent had a clear strategy. The topic is high on company agendas, however, as 65 percent are planning for a big-data future, and 76 percent plan to maintain or increase big-data investments.

These findings emerge from an international survey conducted by the certification body DNV GL – Business Assurance and the research institute GFK Eurisko, on close to 1200 professionals from businesses in different sectors in Europe, the Americas, and Asia.

Big data represents an opportunity for more than half of the companies interviewed—70 percent for companies employing more than 1,000 people—and 45 percent recognize the importance of big data for their own business.

Although big data is high on the agenda, only 1 in 4 are able to leverage big data to boost productivity, showing that most companies are only starting to leverage the potential.

“Big data is changing the game in a number of industries, representing new opportunities and challenges,” said Luca Crisciotti, CEO of DNV GL – Business Assurance. “I believe that companies that recognize and implement strategies and plans to leverage the information in their data pools have increased opportunities to become more efficient and meet their market and stakeholders better.”

Realizing benefits of big data starts with implementing technology and analytics enabling organizations to draw insights from their data pool. The benefits come when they are able to understand their businesses, customers, and markets better and make decisions based on updated information. The majority of companies in the survey have embarked this journey; half of the companies interviewed implemented at least one big data-related initiative.

Most efforts focus on enabling the organization for utilizing big data to the full extent. Twenty-eight percent have improved information management and 25 percent have implemented new technologies and methods. Fewer have taken actions impacting daily routines: 16 percent have worked to change the culture or organization, and 15 percent changed their business model.

All companies that leverage big data report concrete benefits from the efforts. Twenty-three percent report increased efficiency, 16 percent see better business decision making, and 11 percent reported financial savings. Sixteen percent have improved customer experience and engagement because of big data, and nine percent improved relations with other stakeholders.

The main factors preventing companies from making more progress relate either to the lack of an overall strategy and of technical skills.

Most companies (57 percent) believe that big data will play a key role in the mid-term and are preparing for this (65 percent). A large majority (76 percent) plan to maintain or increase investments. They also plan significant changes for their workforce, by either developing specific in-house competences (47 percent) or working through dedicated partnerships (20 percent).

“The ability to use data to obtain actionable knowledge and insights is inevitable for companies that want to keep growing and profiting,” said Crisciotti. “The data analyst or scientist will be crucial in most organizations in the near future.”