Cultural Challenges Still Impede Big Data Adoption

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jan 11, 2017

big data

After several trial and error over the last 4-5 years, corporations have started achieving measurable results and business benefits from their Big Data investments, according to NewVantage Partners 5th annual Big Data Executive Survey. However, despite the momentum, what needs attention is that respondents noted cultural challenges still remain an impediment to successful business adoption. 

A majority of executives [52.5%] report that organizational impediments, including lack or organizational alignment, business and/or technology resistance, and lack of middle management adoption are factors limiting the success of Big Data efforts. At the same time while 60.7% of executives report that their firm has developed an enterprise Big Data strategy, 18% report that their firm lacks “a coherent data strategy”.

Nonetheless, the situation is much better than previous years, where investment levels had grown, but results had yet to be realized for most corporations. In this year’s survey, nearly half [48.4%] of the corporate executives that were surveyed indicated that their firm has achieved “measurable results” from their Big Data investments. Further, a remarkable 80.7% of executives now characterize their Big Data efforts to have been successful. This marks a sharp contrast with previous years, where investment levels had grown, but results had yet to be realized for most corporations.

The 2017 Big Data Executive Survey reports what executives from 50 Fortune 1000 firms see as the key factors driving big data adoption, investment – and success. Survey respondents include top business and technology executives from such blue-chip firms as American Express, Biogen, Bloomberg, Capital One, Charles Schwab, Citi, Disney, Fidelity Investments, Ford Motors, General Electric (GE), JPMorgan Chase, MetLife, United Parcel Service (UPS), and Wells Fargo, among others. A remarkable 80.7% of executives characterize their Big Data investments as successful, with 21% of executives declaring Big Data to have been disruptive or transformational for their firm, the study indicated.

“As a disruptive force, Big Data continues to be fueled by proliferating data volumes and new data sources growing at an unprecedented pace,” said Randy Bean, Founder and CEO of NewVantage Partners and prominent industry author and speaker.

Bean noted, there are some distinctive findings that showed executives are bracing themselves for more disruptions over the next decade. Their focus on Big Data has turned to ensuring measurable results, tangible business value, and innovative benefits that will transform their business, as mentioned below:

- Firms are focusing on opportunities to innovate — while reducing expense levels.

Firms are striving to establish data-driven cultures (69.4%), create new avenues for innovation and disruption (64.5%), accelerate the speed with which new capabilities and services are deployed (64.5%), launch new product and service offerings (62.9%), “monetize” Big Data through increased revenues and new revenue sources (54.8%), and transform and reposition their business for the future (51.6%). And, of course, 72.6% are seeking to decrease expenses through operational cost efficiencies — with 49.2% reporting successful results from their cost reduction efforts as a result of Big Data investments.

- Chief Data Officers will be expected to step up to lead the data innovation charge.

A majority of firms report having appointed a Chief Data Officer (55.9%). While 56% see the role as largely defensive and reactive in scope today — driven by regulatory and compliance requirements– 48.3% believe that the primary role of the Chief Data Officer should be to drive innovation and establish a data culture, and 41.4% indicate that the role of the CDO should be to manage and leverage data as an enterprise business asset. Only 6.9% suggest that regulatory compliance should be the focus of the CDO.

- Big firms are bracing for a decade of disruptive change.

Executives fear that disruption is looming on the immediate horizon. A robust 46.6% of executives express the view that their firm may be at risk of major disruption in the coming decade. They envision a future where “change is coming fast” and it may be “transform or die”. In addition to Big Data, these firms see disruption coming from a range of emerging capabilities, including artificial intelligence and machine learning (88.5%), digital technologies (75.4%), cloud computing (65.6%), block chain (62.3%), and financial technology solutions (57.4%).

“If the survey respondents were celebrating the success of Big Data programs, they have no plans to rest on their laurels as almost half felt that their firms were at risk of major disruption in the next decade,” concluded Bean, adding that emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence [AI], Internet of things [IoT] and machine learning as well as organizational changes will drive these successful firms to overcome potential disruptions.

The infographic shows the investment/adoption trends in big data by corporations and highlights the next wave of disruptions in technology: