If your organization has yet to formalize a big-data strategy, then you may feel as if you're behind the rest of the world on this buzziest of business trends. But, apparently, you're not.
Few organizations, in fact, are yet taking advantage of big-data sources, shows a recent big-data survey conducted by SAS (this site's sponsor) and SourceMedia. Conducted in December 2012, the global survey took the pulse of 339 professionals involved with data management tools and processes. Results indicate that only 12 percent of respondent organizations are conducting daily operations against a big-data strategy.
The reasons are varied, and not so surprising: For example, respondents cited cost and lack of support, two common deployment holdups, as factors for why their organizations aren't exploiting big-data's potential at this point. Here's the breakdown:
- 21 percent indicate their organizations don’t know enough about big-data
- 15 percent said their organizations don’t understand the benefits
- 9 percent cite a lack of business support
- 8 percent cite poor data quality in current systems
- 6 percent point to a lack of executive commitment
- 6 percent signal cost/financial resources are at issue
In addition, the survey found that 11 percent of organizations have no reason their organizations aren't considering or exploring the use of external big-data to help make business decisions. This, I must say, I find surprising.
I can understand that some organizations simply aren't ready to move ahead with big-data -- that they're well situated in what SAS CMO Jim Davis described last week at the SAS Executive Briefing roadshow in New York as the bottom right of the data quadrant: They have large amounts of data and continue using traditional analytics in reactive fashion. They haven't yet evolved their reactive analytics from traditional data to big-data sources, and so be it. What I don't understand is the organization that can't rationalize its use or non-use of big-data today.
Perhaps in situations such as these what's needed is for IT and the business to make nice with each other or for an executive sponsor to take up the big-data charge. As SAS and SourceMedia point out in the survey report, determining who's in charge of the data management strategy can be a major big-data challenge. "In the past, IT groups have done the bulk of data management strategy, but recent trends in data governance and data stewardship have given business analysts and business managers a seat at the table," the report notes.
The survey indicates that at some organizations executive advocates have elevated data to corporate asset while at others data strategy remains in IT's purview. When asked "who owns the data strategy?" 42 percent of respondents indicated either mid-level or senior IT executives while 40 percent pointed to some sort of C-level ownership. However, among that second group more pointed to the CIO -- 26 percent of respondents -- than to other top execs (7 percent of organizations said the CEO owned the data strategy while another 7 percent said a C-level executive other than CEO or CIO).
Will such confusion keep big-data strategy from shaping up within many organizations? Perhaps yes, the survey indicates. As noted in a press release on the survey results:
Asked about the likelihood that their organizations would use external big data in 2014, just 14 percent of respondents said "very likely," while 19 percent responded "not likely at all." Specific concerns included data quality and accuracy, accessing the right data, reconciling disparate data, lack of organizational view into data, timeliness, compliance, and security.
What I'd like is for all organizations to seek an understanding of big-data, to study potential benefits particular to them -- and then rule out its use in your organization as not providing enough value at this point. "No reason" simply won't do.
Is your organization taking advantage of big-data today? Why or why not?