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Enterprises Failing at Big Data Management

Nearly a third of C-level executives give their organizations a failing grade according to a new survey.

How is your organization handling challenges from "Big Data"? A new survey, From Overload to Impact: An Industry Scorecard on Big Data Business Challenges, sponsored by Oracle, asked 333 C-level executives in North America by phone or online about how they're handling the "data deluge" and how well they're able to extract business intelligence from it to "improve operations, capitalize on new opportunities, and drive new revenue."

The answer: not very well. Nearly a third (29 percent) of executives gave their organizations a "D" or "F" in "preparedness to manage the data deluge." Another 31 percent rated preparedness with a grade of "C". Not having the right systems in place to gather the information they need is the biggest gripe of 38 percent of executives. Following close behind, 36 percent said their organizations weren't able to provide their business managers access to the information, and 29 percent said they were using systems that weren't designed to meet their industry's unique needs.

The data deluge is real -- 94 percent of those surveyed say their "organization is collecting and managing more business information today than two years ago." In fact, they point out, data has nearly doubled during those 24 months (the average data growth was 86 percent). The top three data growth areas: customer information (according to 48 percent of respondents), operations (34 percent), and sales and marketing data (33 percent).

Executives are aware of the financial impact of these problems: 93 percent believe their enterprise is losing an average of $71.2M in revenue because they can't "fully leverage the information they collect."

Furthermore, almost every executive (97 percent) say a change is needed. Though the survey didn't ask if any actual plans were in place to make that change happen, at least managers recognize the problem. Among the top three changes needed: improving their ability to translate information into "actionable insight" (according to 43 percent of respondents), followed by "upgrading tools to collect more accurate information" and improving training (each at 38 percent).

A summary of the survey results reveals a connection between preparedness and lost revenue. In the public sector, 41 percent of respondents assigned their organization a "D" or "F" grade and believed that only 11 percent of annual revenue was lost because of their current problems with data management. On the other hand, in the consumer goods field, for example, only 7 percent rated their companies with a failing grade but felt that their organization could lose as much as 19 percent of revenue. The squeaky wheel gets the data management attention, it would seem.

We asked Oracle about the survey results. "The data deluge is coming fast and furiously for today's industries," said Rod Johnson, vice president of industries strategy in the industries business unit at Oracle. "The challenge is real and many organizations realize they are not prepared -- and they are missing out on additional revenue and opportunities, as a result. The time to focus on a big data strategy is now, and businesses are looking to comprehensive solutions that not only enable them to capture and process vast quantities of data, but go the final mile by putting knowledge and insight in the hands of business managers when and where they need it."

About the Author

James E. Powell is the editorial director of the Business Intelligence Journal and BI This Week newsletter. You can contact him here.

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