This news, shared in "Roadblocks Crumbling: Midmarket Companies See Early Success in Big Data," a Dell Software-sponsored report by Competitive Edge Research Reports, is most surprising to me in this regard: the rate at which organizations of this size are embracing big data. Of the 300 respondents, two thirds of whom were with US-based companies, 41% reported having one or more big-data projects in place already while 55% said they're starting one. Do the math with me -- that's nearly a 100% commitment to big data!
I have to tell you, if I'm a CIO or business executive at a midmarket company that isn't actively working with big data or outlining a strategic plan for its use, then I'd seriously be questioning my choice of employer. A 96% adoption rate is as strong a signal as you'll ever see to get with the program or go bust.
As Wayne Eckerson, director of research and founder of advisory firm Eckerson Group, said in the report, "In the age of data, companies of any size can gain a market advantage with better data."
But they've got to use the data, all the relevant data they can get their hands on, to make that difference. If they don't, well… Again, to quote Eckerson from the report, "SMBs (small and midsize businesses) have the opportunity to leapfrog their bigger competitors, but more than likely they fear falling behind the big guys even further."
Big data has no size bias. The benefits most reported by the midmarket executives whose companies have implemented big data are pretty much in line with what we hear from just about anybody who's overseen a big-data project at a larger organization. For midmarket companies, big data means faster decision making and enhanced marketing. It means improved product and service quality. And it means a better understanding of customer needs. It'd be easy to swap in "enterprise" for "midmarket" in these cases, right?
But in the middle market, IT seems to get a bit more respect relative to big data. The survey showed collaboration between IT and the business to be one of the biggest requirements for project success (along with proper skills and performance management). Perhaps the IT imperative is a reflection of the big-data tools in use within midmarket companies -- they're not messing around, as the infographic at right shows.
Midmarket companies certainly aren't above common problems associated with big-data implementations, including finding analytics talent, dealing with massive data volumes, and boosting processing power. But it's exciting to see that so many are being so fearless in the face of big data.
Readers, at what sized company do you work? Where is it on the big-data implementation curve? Let's talk below about how your experiences compare to what's reported here.
— Beth Schultz, , Editor in Chief, AllAnalytics.com