Some things in life are inevitable: death, taxes and the ability of the tech sector to create acronyms and overly-hyped buzzwords. Today, I’m going to address the latest of those buzzwords, Big Data, and by the end I promise to try to come up with an acronym of my own just for fun.
Big data is a serious and challenging business problem. On May 24, The Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal wrote a story stemming the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium which said that while the challenges of big data are real, so is the opportunity. Michael Chui from McKinsey & Company said “Big Data will be effective for every segment of the economy … companies will gain or lose market share based on their ability to do this, and those who start earlier will accelerate their advantage exponentially.”
Avanade’s recent global research study confirms Chui’s point. We found that companies are starting to realize tangible business value from big data. In fact, 43% of business and IT executives said that big data helped them create entirely new sources of revenue and the vast majority of executive respondents say they are making better decisions.
Another finding from our research is that access to data is becoming pervasive in organizations. The majority of respondents (58%) to our survey report data management is now embedded throughout their business operations and not just housed within IT. We’re seeing interest from our customers in making data more widely available to all employees. In fact, for SaaS-delivered business intelligence (BI), we just signed a deal with a customer that will roll out analytics-as-a-service to 150,000 users. Truly data for the masses.
Despite the improvement of tools to manage the increased volume of data, enabling employees to find the right information at the right time still remains a challenge. And as CEO, this is something that I often get asked about by our Avanade employees. We have a very current and sophisticated intranet and powerful search functionality; however, it’s not the tools but the volume that makes finding the right information difficult. Over the past 12 years we have been conditioned to make information available in digital form, at our fingertips. So, the data is there and searchable, but that doesn’t make it less challenging to find what you need when you need it.
The phenomenon of Big Data is still relatively new, and as McKinsey’s Chui said, “there aren’t best practices; I’d say there are emerging next practices.” You can read our Executive Summary of our research to see what Avanade recommends companies start to do but I would love to hear from you – what are you seeing and doing to tackle this challenge?
Let me end by fulfilling my promise of an acronym. Given the topic at hand, I offer up to you for consideration, WITWIMD – Where in the world is my data? It’s big and it’s a mouthful. But if you have a better acronym (keep it clean), please share it with me.