Are you making business decisions from big data?

The survey indicates that levels of confidence in this accuracy are at best variable and at worst low. Since organisations base key strategic decisions on the data they hold, its accuracy is very important. Bull's findings should therefore give many companies cause for concern and hope for improvement. It is worth remembering that Big Data is made up of 5 'V's:

  • Volume = data at rest
  • Velocity = data in motion
  • Variety = data in many forms
  • Veracity = data in doubt
  • Value = don't do it unless you recognise the business benefit

TRP: What are the main business drivers identified by the survey for the use of data analytics?

AC: The Bull survey finds that businesses are mainly using data to advance core strategic goals, with many looking to it as a means of gaining business advantage.

While 28% of the sample said they primarily analyse and manipulate the data available to them to reduce operational resources or time, 43% said they did it for 'other competitive advantage or operational benefit'. This latter choice was most likely to be made by HR directors, of whom 56% referenced it and by IT directors, where it was highlighted by 38%.

TRP: What's your view of the long-term prognosis for big data technologies?

AC: Big data is now widely recognised as a huge commercial opportunity to most businesses today. Organisations are increasingly showing an interest in the technology that enables the analysis of big data and through 2014 we expect to see growing numbers of big data initiatives move from trials to live implementations.

But work does remain to be done and as this survey demonstrates a key element of this is the continuing struggle many organisations have internally in delivering data analytics to their key decision-makers; or more simply, providing tools that allow the business to make accurate decisions by self-serving the data.

If businesses are able to overcome this challenge then they will have gone a long way towards solving the big data challenge and successfully using data to drive improved customer engagement; enhanced revenue streams and ultimately greater competitive advantage.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.