With Big Data Widely Adopted, The Next Concern Is How to Get Value From It

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There was a time not long ago when many companies viewed big data investments as niche and non-essential, but that has changed. They now realize using big data is necessary to succeed in the marketplace.

However, making big data worthwhile is not as straightforward as it seems. Many companies still don’t know how to extract data from the collected information.

Many Brands Don’t Get a Competitive Edge After Big Data Investments

Investing in big data is a crucial step, but it doesn’t guarantee a competitive boost. A 2019 survey conducted by NewVantage Partners of executives at Fortune 500 companies revealed some surprising discoveries. It found that more than 91 percent are increasing their investments in big data and artificial intelligence, and less than half say they’re competitive with big data and analytics.

Moreover, only 31 percent responded that they had created data-driven organizations, and even fewer built a data culture. When asked about whether big data translated to measurable value, approximately 62 percent said it did — but that’s an 11-percent decline from last year’s survey.

Those polled also said that 95 percent of the time, it’s organizational issues that pose challenges when firms adopt big data — not technological shortcomings.

That suggests that brands should work on creating a data-centric culture before making major big data investments. People from every department and each level of the organization must be on board with the idea for it to pay off.

Companies Are Unhappy With Data Results for Various Reasons

The previous survey showed that organizational issues posed obstacles that hindered getting value from data, but there are often other problems at play, too.

KPMG performed a study involving more than 800 business executives from 15 countries. In that case, insufficient big data tools or a lack of talent within the company to use the tools correctly caused issues. The research showed that 86 percent of the respondents said big data enabled faster decision making.

But, only 19 percent were “very satisfied” with the insights given by their data and analytics tools. Just 14 percent of companies felt they had all the talent required to leverage big data, which suggests a skills shortage.

However, one of the takeaways in the KPMG paper was that companies that got the most favorable results after implementing big data were typically those that took a company-wide approach instead of merely focusing on individual projects.

Should Companies Monetize Big Data?

Aside from using the information gleaned from big data platforms internally, some companies may decide to sell it to other enterprises that are interested in the insights. Data with monetization potential must be dependable, relevant and segmented. It may also be necessary to anonymize the data to maintain security, particularly due to data privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

When companies have information that meets those characteristics, they could consider monetizing it. Then, the value gained comes from outside interest instead of internal use alone.

Assigning a value to data isn’t easy, but the growth of the data companies store means they must get serious about understanding what it’s worth. In one study, the volume of data held by companies increased by an average of 40 percent per year. Some companies begin by categorizing data according to the current value, and that’s a smart way to start.

Future value of the data should come into the equation, as well. Although many companies use outside experts for data valuation, analysts believe there will soon be a shift towards building internal teams to do the job. Giving a value to data equips businesses to decide if they should monetize their data or not.

Create Value By Using Data to Solve Known Problems

Another way to get value from big data is to specifically assess problems that big data might solve. In one case study, an aircraft engine manufacturer uses big data to predict engine issues that could lead to airline disruptions. It does so with 97 percent accuracy, leading to a savings of $63 million compared to the previous year.

Creating a data strategy is an excellent way to make a practical plan for using data. And, this strategy should align with a company’s overall goals. Taking a closer look at what the business wants to accomplish and determining how data fits into those things goes a long way in making data worth something substantial for the organization.

Achieve More Data Value By Understanding Business Needs

As the research here shows, numerous things cause businesses to have trouble getting value from their data.

There is no single way to increase value, but companies should start by recognizing company requirements, then proceed to identify the outstanding obstacles. Then, companies can learn ways forward.

About the Author

Contributed by: Kayla Matthews, a technology writer and blogger covering big data topics for websites like Productivity Bytes, CloudTweaks, SandHill and VMblog.


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