Shift Happens: Big Data Causing a Fundamental Shift in C-Suite Strategies

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BigData_2015Platfora, the Big Data Analytics platform built natively on Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark, announced a study by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) that explores, in detail, the beliefs, priorities and opinions on big data analytics by 395 C-level executives at Fortune 2000 companies. According to the findings, most top executives believe big data will significantly impact their future strategies, while another 23% say big data will revolutionize the way businesses are managed. In regards to big data analytics, the executives surveyed demonstrated they can already identify a number of disparate areas where data analytics can be leveraged to drive business value and contribute to the bottom line.

Now that mainstream companies have adopted big data analytics technologies, it’s encouraging that the optimism still prevails. It’s proof that this class of solutions is working,” said Ben Werther, founder and CEO of Platfora. “Leadership that promotes the use of big data at all levels of an enterprise will see an increased competitive advantage and ability to meet the needs of customers at a whole new level.”

Some of the key findings include:

  • 48% of executives believe big data to be a useful tool, while another 23% say big data will revolutionize the way businesses are managed.
  • Lack of understanding about how to use big data stands in the way of implementation.
  • Customer insights and targeting are currently the highest priority for the application of big data—cited by 42% of the C-level executives.
  • CEOs have the most positive overall attitudes about big data according to survey respondents, with 76% rating their CEO’s views as positive or very positive on the subject, closely followed by CIOs (72%) and CMOs (67%).
  • Optimal value from big data comes from the creation of enterprise-wide big-data teams.

The Case for a Data-Driven Culture

According to the report, a key component for adoption of big data technologies is a data-driven culture. Companies that embrace data as a corporate asset and a source of competitive advantage will see greater returns in this ever-changing world of technology. However, in order to be successful, a data-centric culture stems from all levels of an organization.

Leadership that creates a corporate culture that promotes the use of big data at all levels and across all business departments of an organization stands to improve business processes and win against peers. The Economist outlines the following ways leaders can create a data-centric culture: inspire with values and vision, enable with expertise and education, promote collaboration and transparency, and engage through communication and transparency.

When leadership aspires to create data-centric culture, the next critical step is the cultural transformation necessary to embed the new expertise and tools into day-to-day business transactions and decisions throughout the whole organization. To succeed in this effort, The Economist recommends the following best practices: use data to set and track performance goals, offer data analysis training and education, share and compete with peers, and experiment and innovate with data.

Creating a data-centric organization can be challenging for any enterprise. In addition to the C-Level focused report, The EIU produced two additional articles on how leaders and the rest of the organization can implement these strategies: Driving a Data-centric Culture: The Leadership Challenge and Driving a Data-centric Culture: A Bottom-up Opportunity.

You can try out The Economist Intelligence Unit Benchmarking Tool HERE.

Survey Methodology

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) carried out a global survey of 395 C-level executives with sponsorship from Platfora. The survey sample consists of executives from 18 different industries and is balanced across Asia-Pacific (34%), North America (27%), Western Europe (26%) and the rest of the world (13%).


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