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New Survey Highlights Big Data Successes at Midsize Companies

Big data benefits not limited to large enterprises

A Dell Software-commissioned survey of big data initiatives at midsize companies (those with 2000 to 5000 employees) shows that big data initiatives are helping them achieve “the improved product quality and decision making once reserved for large enterprises.”

The just-released report of midmarket executives conducted by Competitive Edge Research found that big data projects have “become a critical decision-making factor for midmarket companies across the globe. Survey findings also show midmarket organizations today overwhelmingly believe in the potential of big data projects to help them solve tangible business problems, and they are backing up that belief with action.”

“Consider the evidence,” the report notes.  “Eight out of 10 of the 300 survey respondents agree that they need better data analysis to meet their business goals.  Even more impressively, virtually all of them (96 percent) either have one or more big data projects in place or are in the process of starting one.”

What’s driving these organizations to act?  They’re looking at big data to “result in better quality products and services, new business opportunities, and improved decision-making.”  Besides those short-term goals, respondents also mentioned “reducing operating expenditures, analyzing profits per customer, product or line of business” as well as a better understanding of constituent sentiments.

One popular focus of big data is social media, but the report explains that this “potentially significant source of analytic insight still remains largely untapped.”  Challenging big data initiatives are “a wide variety of new data types and structures” (40 percent), “sheer volume of data slows processing” (34 percent), and “budget limitations to improve data analysis capabilities” (32 percent).

When it comes to success factors, IT/business collaboration remains a key requirement.  Having the proper skills (either in-house for from an outside provider) is also vital, as is performance management.  A lack of such collaboration or skills are among the top reasons the initiatives fail; a lack of user adoption of data analysis tools, incomplete or inaccurate business requirements, and “a disconnect between data analytics and performance management” were also cited.

Midsize companies expect a return for their investment, of course, and the report indicates many are getting just that.  Of those firms with big data in production, half say the quality and speed of their decision making has improved, 49 percent note an better product quality, and 47 percent say they have a better understanding of constituent sentiment, with an equal percentage claiming they are better able to identify and take advantage of business opportunities.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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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