Impact Report on Big Data Analytics Initiatives Unveils ROI, Trends

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big-data_logoTeradata Corp. (NYSE: TDC), the big data analytics and marketing applications company, issued a global report on the state of big data analytics as currently practiced across six industries. Based on a survey of 316 senior data and IT decision-makers in leading companies, the report is derived from a questionnaire designed by Forbes Insights, and sponsored by Teradata in partnership with McKinsey. The report reveals the impact of big data initiatives on organizational culture and practices, citing challenges and confirming the business value of big data investments.

Notably, the majority of survey respondents report not just significant investment in big data analytics, but a significant return on that investment. Across all categories of investment, about 90 percent of organizations report medium to high levels of investment, and about a third call their investments “very significant.” Additionally, about two-thirds of respondents report that big data and analytics initiatives have had a significant, measurable impact on revenues.

It’s exciting to see that companies using big data technologies are realizing the impact that’s been promised for some time,” said Chris Twogood, Vice President of Product and Services Marketing at Teradata. “Companies aren’t just committed to investing in big data analytics; most companies are seeing a material impact as a result of that investment. One out of five survey respondents (21 percent) agreed that big data analytics is the single most important path to competitive advantage, while 38 percent called it a top five issue.”

Twogood said that deploying big data analytics through an analytical ecosystem including a data warehouse — along with open source technology — provides the integration across multiple disparate systems that further enhances competitive advantage.

Among the six industries surveyed, executives saw different value potential in big data; retail respondents held it in highest regard, indicating that in retail, big data and analytics is the key to competitive advantage.

The survey showed that big data is shaping the future and driving opportunities for innovation in three key areas: creating new business models (54 percent); discovering new product offers (52 percent); and monetizing data to external companies (40 percent).

Top Driver of Big Data Success – Senior-Level Sponsors

The leading-edge organizations – ones that placed a higher level of importance on big data and analytics – indicated that C-suite sponsorship was critical. More specifically:

  • In organizations where big data is viewed as the single most important way to gain competitive advantage, over half are led by CEOs who personally focus on big data initiatives.
  • In organizations where big data is viewed as a top-five issue that gets significant time and attention from top leadership, the sponsor is typically one level below top leadership.

The survey also reveals that many 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.

Despite the progress we see reported, as companies make the most of big data resources, there remains plenty of room for improvement. 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.”

Companies that are gaining the most traction with their big data initiatives are looking well beyond transactional data – they’re exploring many data types. The most-cited was location data (used to identify an electronic device’s physical location), collected by over half of the respondents, followed by text data (unstructured data like email messages, slides, Word documents, and instant messages). In addition to exploring these new data types, leading companies are selectively combining structured and multi-structured data sets in an analytic ecosystem, enabling the discovery of analytic insights that drive new innovations.


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