Topping the list of big data benefits are better strategic decisions (69%), improved control of operational processes (54%), a better understanding of customers (52%) and cost reductions (47%). Furthermore, those organizations able to quantify their gains from analyzing big data reported an average 8% increase in revenues and a 10% reduction in costs.
“Big data analytics brings many benefits to the table, but companies shouldn’t underestimate the challenges involved,” says Dr. Carsten Bange, CEO of BARC and co-author of the study. “Our survey identified data privacy and data security as the two most important issues in companies that already have big data initiatives in place.”
The next most cited problem is the lack of internal business and technical know-how for tapping and analyzing big data, leading many companies to say that they intend to create new jobs in this area. According to Dr. Bange, however, the global labor market probably can’t meet their demand for this type of expertise at the moment. “A global skills shortage could curb the big data boom.”
Management is driving big data analytics
Whether or not big data initiatives thrive in companies revolves principally around their management. In companies where big data initiatives are an integrated part of business processes, senior management is the primary driver or thought leader (61%). However, in organizations still considering using big data analysis, the corresponding figure is much lower at 34%.
On the whole, business departments are still very passive and much less likely to be the drivers behind this topic.
Customer analytics is the most common project driver
Previous BARC surveys have shown that organizations broaden their range of big data application scenarios as they gain more experience in analyzing big data.
Currently, marketing and sales departments lead the way in big data analytics. Of the survey respondents who are using – or planning to use – big data, 25% said they have already integrated big data analytics in their marketing and 23% in sales.
But big data analysis is by no means confined to these areas: respondents reported plenty of big data use cases in all other departments including production, finance, controlling and human resources.
The unusually high numbers for planned deployments by department (between 34% and 56% overall) suggest that, sooner or later, big data will reach every corner of the business.
To get the most out of your projects look at our recommendations for big data initiatives.