75% Investing In Big Data; Then Where's The Problem?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Sep 18, 2015


It would be wrong to say that big data is not happening. Of course it is. In fact, more than three-quarters of companies are investing or planning to invest in big data in the next two years, a three percent increase over last year, according to a recent survey by Gartner. However, big data’s turning out to be a new normal is also becoming a challenge. Its interesting to understand these big data hurdles in the enterprise.

One important findings from Gartner is that investment in big data continues to increase in 2015, but not as rapidly as in previous years. “As big data becomes the new normal, information and analytics leaders are shifting focus from hype to finding value,” said Lisa Kart, research director at Gartner. ”While the perennial challenge of understanding value remains, the practical challenges of skills, governance, funding and ROI come to the fore.”

As the survey indicates that when asked about ROI for big data efforts, the majority of those companies with plans to invest in big data and those that have invested, expect a positive ROI. However, a large proportion of companies (43 percent of those planning to invest and 38 percent of those that have already invested) don’t know if their ROI will be positive or negative. This uncertainty highlights the challenges in determining the value of big data projects.

Another recent study by Teradata and Forbes Insight points out the key challenge is that it’s easier to say “big data” than ‘doing’ it. The former fits neatly into a PowerPoint presentation. The latter requires cultural change, it says.

Read more: Big Data Needs A Big Makeover

The report explains that a part of the problem is that data-driven business models represent a break from the past that can call for a huge cultural upheaval. The key obstacles remain, especially with regard to culture, strategy and operations. Over half of the survey respondents noted that adopting a data-driven culture is the single biggest barrier, suggesting that the idea of a data-driven approach is not universally accepted today. Rewarding the use of data and fostering experimentation and creativity with data were also highlighted as significant cultural challenges.

The cultural challenges can handicap every facet of a big data initiative,” said Matt Ariker, Chief Operating Officer of Consumer Marketing at McKinsey. “But the good news is that the reverse is true as well: improving how a company fosters a culture and mindset that rewards the use of data experimentation can help a data and analytics initiative gain momentum and impact.”

Just like Arikar, Gartner too found that the more significant changes in this year’s survey findings is the role within the organization that initiates big data projects. Last year, 37 percent of big data projects were initiated by the CIO, while 25 percent were initiated by business unit heads. In 2015, the roles are nearly tied, at 32 percent and 31 percent, respectively, it says.

“Business leaders are taking a more active role in information and analytics projects as awareness of the value of data-driven decision making grows… despite certain challenges,” says Heudecker. This is a high growth economy and organizations depend on insights from raw data, will continue to plan their future course with the big data, believe experts.