The biggest hurdles to successful big data initiatives include getting various business units to share information across organisational silos and determining which data to use for different business decisions, according to a Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) survey.
Besides these two cultural challenges, the report The Emerging Big Returns from Big Data said the mentioned cultural challenges were closely followed by the technological obstacle of being able to handle the large volume, velocity and variety of Big Data.
TCS designed the study to focus on consumer industries, both manufacturing and service companies, in four regions of the world: North America, Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America. The online survey had 1,217 participants of which 643 had big data initiatives.
"Big data has enormous potential and early adopters are projecting a high ROI on investments. However, overcoming the technological challenges is only part of the story," said Satya Ramaswamy, vice president and global head of Mobility and Next Gen Solutions.
"Businesses need to carefully think where big data initiatives should sit within the organisation, how to break down internal silos and look beyond just internal and structured data sets," said Ramaswamy. To realise the full potential of big data, businesses also need to consider the potential cultural changes within the organisation to speed up its adoption, Ramaswamy added.
Meanwhile, a regional breakdown shows that US companies are leading adoption of big data initiatives (68 percent), followed by Latin America (51 percent), Europe (45 percent) and Asia Pacific (39 percent).
Despite the challenges and disparity in success, many businesses are confident of high ROI from big data. Of those that had programmes in 2012, 43 percent predicted an ROI of more than 25 percent in 2012.
Retail businesses have the greatest number of leaders in big data with 35 percent of respondents expecting ROI greater than 50 percent in 2012. They were closely followed by energy & resources (33 percent), banking and financial services (33 percent), high tech (27 percent), and media and entertainment (25 percent). In last place were consumer goods businesses with just 17 percent expecting ROI greater than 50 percent in 2012.
Aside from the vertical disparity, geographies also differ greatly in their ROI predictions. Asia Pacific expected the highest ROI (71 percent), followed by Latin America (64 percent) and Europe (43 percent). The lowest expect ROI was in the US (37 percent).
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