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C-level executives seeing big results from big data

Thor Olavsrud | Sept. 12, 2014
An overwhelming majority of executives from companies that have brought big data projects to production are pleased with the results, according to new research by Accenture Digital. However, they also cite security as the major challenge they face.

Finding New Sources of Revenue Is Major Big Data Focus

Finding new sources of revenue is the area that businesses focusing on the most when it comes to big data projects and it's also where businesses are seeing the most extensive tangible business outcomes. Accenture found that 94 percent of executives said their companies use big data moderately or extensively to identify new sources of revenue. Additionally, 90 percent of companies use big data moderately or extensively to retain and acquire customers and 89 percent to develop new products and services.

Fifty-six percent of executives reported that their companies are experiencing extensive tangible business outcomes from big data in finding new sources of revenue. Additionally, 50 percent point to new product and service development, 51 percent to enhancing customer experience and 47 percent to winning and keeping customers.

Peering into the future, 63 percent of executives said they believe that in the next five years big data will have the biggest effect on their customer relationships. Fifty-eight percent mentioned product development and 56 percent said operations.

With companies putting big data projects into production, 51 percent of executives cite security as the greatest challenge facing their organizations when implementing big data. Executives also cited budget (47 percent), lack of talent to implement big data (41 percent) and to run big data and analytics on an ongoing basis (37 percent) and integration with existing systems (35 percent).

"We've seen organizations overcome big data implementation challenges by remaining flexible and recognizing that no single solution fits every situation," Dell'Anno says. "If a particular approach doesn't work, organizations try another one, learning as they grow. They also start small and stay realistic in their expectations. Rather than attempting to do everything at once, they focus resources around providing value in one are, and then let the results cascade from there."

Accenture also found that large companies (with more than $10 billion in annual revenue) are taking a different approach to big data than their small and mid-sized brethren (with less than $500 million in annual revenue).

First, executives from large companies are more likely to see big data as extremely important. The study found that 67 percent of executives from large companies see big data as extremely important compared with 43 percent of respondents from small companies.

Also, Accenture found that executives from large companies have a broader perception of what big data includes as compared with respondents from smaller companies. In particular, large companies are more likely to use more data sources in their big data efforts social network data (54 percent vs. 29 percent); visualization data (50 percent vs. 29 percent) and unstructured data (49 percent vs. 36 percent).


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