Companies are eyeing big data opportunities, but few are able to tap the potential

A survey among close to 1200 professionals across different industries shows that while more than half recognize the importance of big data, only a quarter is able to achieve productivity gains.

Luca Crisciotti, CEO of DNV GL – Business Assurance

52% agree that big data represents an opportunity from a business point of view, while only 23% have a clear strategy. It is however evident that the topic is high on company agendas as 65% are planning for a future where big data plays a significant role, and 76 % plan to maintain or increase big data investments.

These findings emerge from an international survey conducted by DNV GL - Business Assurance and the research institute GFK Eurisko, on close to 1200 professionals from businesses in different sectors in Europe, the Americas and Asia.

Big data represents an opportunity for more than half of the companies interviewed – even 70% for companies employing more than 1,000 people – and 45% recognize the direct importance of big data for their own business.

Although big data is high on the agenda, only 1 in 4 are able to leverage big data to boost productivity, showing that most companies are only starting to leverage the potential.

“Big data is changing the game in a number of industries, representing new opportunities and challenges. I believe that companies that recognize and implement strategies and plans to leverage the information in their data pools have increased opportunities to become more efficient and meet their market and stakeholders better,” says Luca Crisciotti, CEO of DNV GL – Business Assurance.

A new journey

Realizing benefits of big data starts with implementing technology and analytics enabling organizations to draw insights from their data pool. The benefits come when you are able to understand your business, customers and market better and make decisions based on updated information and boost productivity or results. The majority of companies in the survey have embarked this journey - half of the companies interviewed implemented at least one big data related initiative.

Most efforts are done to enable and prepare the organization for utilizing big data to the full extent. 28% have improved information management and 25% have implemented new technologies and methods. Fewer have taken actions impacting daily routines: 16% have worked to change the culture or organization, and 15% changed their business model.

Benefits and obstacles

All companies that leverage big data report concrete benefits from the efforts. 23% report increased efficiency, 16% see better business decision making and 11% reported financial savings. 16% have improved customer experience and engagement because of big data, and 9% improved relations with other stakeholders.

The main factors preventing companies from making more progress relate either to the lack of an overall strategy and of technical skills, both counting for 24%.

Future developments

Big data offers a world of opportunities that companies should not miss out on. Most companies (57%) believe that big data will play a key role in the mid-term and are preparing for this (65%). A majority plan to maintain or increase investments (76%). They also plan significant changes for their workforce, by either developing specific in-house competences (47%) or working through dedicated partnerships (20%).

“The ability to use data to obtain actionable knowledge and insights is inevitable for companies that want to keep growing and profiting. The data analyst or scientist will be crucial in most organizations in the near future,” adds Luca Crisciotti.

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