Large companies not realising full potential from 'big data', new survey finds

Out-Law News | 28 Jan 2014 | 4:34 pm | 1 min. read

Fewer than one in 20 large companies are taking full advantage of the potential offered to them by 'big data', according to a new report by KPMG.

The professional services firm commissioned a survey of 144 chief financial officers and chief information officers at major businesses that turnover more than $1 billion annually in August last year. It said that 96% of respondents "admitted that they could do more with big data and make better use of analytics in their organisation". The benefits to be gleaned from that untapped data could be "significant", 56% of those respondents said.

'Big data' is a term used to describe the vast generation of data and the possibilities presented through analysing the information through computers.

According to 69% of respondents to KPMG's survey, data analytics is either crucial or very important to their business. More than half (56%) said their companies had altered their strategies to "meet the challenges" of big data, including most often by increasing their capacity to analyse the information they have access to.

"Few organisations fully understand the huge potential that resides within their data," KPMG's 'Going Beyond the Data' report, seen by Out-Law.com, said. "Fewer still are making the right changes to their business strategy to take advantage of that potential."

More than 40% of the CFOs and CIOs surveyed said that the biggest challenge in making the most of big data was in "integrating data technology into their existing systems and business models", according to KPMG's report. The majority of companies (85%) are also finding difficulty in "implementing the correct solutions to accurately analyse and interpret their existing data".

The survey also found that 53% of large companies represented in the survey have upgraded their IT systems to "better integrate" data and analytics into their businesses, whilst 51% have also improved their "data collection processes".

KPMG said 75% of respondents had admitted to experiencing difficulties in making decisions around the analysing of data, whilst they also said the biggest barrier to businesses drawing up a data and analytics strategy is in identifying what data to collect. Fewer than half of the companies (45%) represented in the study have trained managers on how to use data in their decision making, whilst analysts and data scientists have been trained at 39% of the businesses.

More than a third (38%) of large businesses have recruited analysts and data scientists whilst 28% of respondents said their company had contracted with external consultants or suppliers to help integrate data and analytics into their organisation.

Technology law expert Andrew Brydon of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, previously called on every organisation to draw up a big data strategy. He warned that businesses that fail to do so risk falling behind to market competitors.