‘Big Data as essential to business as land, labour and capital’

‘Big Data as essential to business as land, labour and capital’

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Paris, France: Capgemini – a consulting, technology and outsourcing services provider, announced the findings of a global survey into the use of ‘Big Data’ in corporate decision-making. The Economist Intelligence Unit report ‘The Deciding Factor: Big Data & Decision making’, commissioned by Capgemini, revealed that nine out of ten business leaders believe data is now the fourth factor of production, as fundamental to business as land, labour and capital. 
According to Capgemini’s press statement, ‘Big Data’ refers to the huge increase in volume of data sets which means that they are difficult to manage and interpret using traditional database management tools. Data sets are growing in size due to internet search, social media and the rise in business informatics but they are increasingly being gathered by information-sensing mobile devices, sensory technologies (remote sensing), cameras, microphones, radio-frequency identification readers, and wireless sensor networks. There are multiple benefits of working with larger datasets allowing companies to spot business trends, and detect preventable problems
The study among over 600 C-level executives and senior management and IT leaders worldwide indicated that the use of ‘Big Data’ improved businesses’ performance, on average, by 26 per cent and that the impact will grow to 41 percent over the next 3 years. The majority of companies (58 percent) claimed they would make a bigger investment in ‘Big Data’ over the next three years.
Two-thirds of executives consider their organisations are ‘data-driven’, reporting that data collection and analysis underpins their firm’s business strategy and day-to-day decision-making. Leaders who base their judgement on a combination of experience and instinct are becoming increasingly rare. Over half (54 per cent) say that management decisions based purely on intuition or experience are increasingly regarded as suspect and 65 percent assert that more and more management decisions are based on ‘hard analytic information’.
That figure rises to 73 percent for the financial services sector, 75 per cent for healthcare, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology and 76 per cent for energy and natural resources companies. The majority of executives (58 percent) rely on unstructured data analysis including text, voice messages, images and video content while over 40 per cent say that social media data in particular has become increasingly important for decision-making.
According to Gartner Inc., “Business executives and IT managers are increasingly referring to information as one of their organisation’s most critical and strategic corporate assets. Certainly there is a sharp rise in enterprises leveraging information as a performance fuel, competitive weaponry and a relationship adhesive.”
Timeliness and quality of data remain significant issues. Although 42 percent of executives say that data analysis has slowed down decision-making, the vast majority (85 percent) believe that the growing volume of data isn’t the main challenge, but rather being able to analyse and act on it in real-time. As organisations increasingly look to the output from analytics to automate decision making, data quality is seen as a major hurdle to this with two-thirds (67 percent) claiming they struggle with data inaccuracy on a daily basis.
“The exploitation of ‘Big Data’ fuels a step change in the quality of business decision-making,” said Paul Nannetti, Global Sales and Portfolio Director, Capgemini. “But it’s not only through harnessing the many new sources of data that organisations can obtain competitive advantage. It’s the ability to quickly and efficiently analyse that data to optimize processes and decision making in real time that adds the greatest value. In this way, genuinely data-driven companies are able to monitor customer behaviours and market conditions with greater certainty, and react with speed and effectiveness to differentiate from competition.”
An important challenge for companies wanting to make the most of Big Data is the barrier of organisational silos (56 percent). The shift from departmental to business process silos is preventing the sharing and integration of data and a holistic overview of data management. Perhaps however the most challenging issue is the shortage of talent claimed by half (51 percent) of respondents. The gap between the demand and supply of qualified data analysts was perceived highest for retail and consumer goods companies. Two-thirds of respondents from these sectors cite access to talent as the toughest obstacle to data-driven decision making.
Responding to the growing importance and challenges associated with ‘Big Data’, Capgemini’s Business Information Management Global Service Line invested in a broad portfolio of Business Analytics solutions and services, including a pragmatic business-driven approach to ‘Big Data’ and objective advisory on the key technology options for customers.
Source: Capgemini