That trend/concept known as big data is picking up steam with the C-suite, according to a recent poll conducted by Harris Interactive, surveying some 154 executives from small and midsize enterprises across the globe with annual revenues of $500 million or less.
There was quite a variation when it came to actually defining the term “big data.”
About 28 percent of executives attributed it to a surge in transaction data, whereas 24 percent see it as the new technologies that address the volume, variety, and velocity of big data. Some 19 percent associate big data with regulatory compliance and storage requirements, but 18 percent see big data as a culmination of new data “sources” like social media, mobile, and machine-generated devices.
The truth is – it’s all of the above.
“Big data is the unprecedented growth and convergence of social, device, equipment, and corporate data,” said Steve Lucas, executive vice president and general manager of database & technology for SAP, which commissioned the survey. “Big data is instant access to data and with instant insight, companies can be agile, act on emerging trends, engage with their customer base, and also expose potential risks.”
While defining the concept invited a host of responses, there was no arguing the point that 76 percent of survey respondents view big data as a way to increase their competitive edge. More than half – 59 percent – plan to leverage big data for more efficient business processes. Other areas where executives expected to gain a competitive advantage ranged from boosting sales, 54 percent; to lowering IT costs, 50 percent, and attracting and retaining customers, 46 percent.
Also gaining near universal support amongst respondents was the importance of mobility – 90 percent of the executives consider mobile access to big data visualization to be “somewhat important.” About 57 percent considered on-the-fly analysis to be “very important.”
In a CRM feature this month on Solving the Master Data Management Equation, Ed Shepherdson, senior vice president of enterprise solutions at Coveo, points out that the volume of social and mobile data flying around has increased the need for defined “time periods” – will your organization “nurture, archive, or eliminate data?” Social data, for instance, is very time-dependent and situational. Companies must define what will or what will not constitute reference data moving forward.
Gartner Research, in report “Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users for 2012 and Beyond: Control Slips Away,” drives the point that the collection and analysis of data must be centered around timeliness and the ability to make concrete decisions with impact on the organization.