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UK companies recognise value of Big Data

UK: Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of UK and Ireland businesses recognise the competitive advantage associated with Big Data, a report released by IBM and the Saïd School of Business at the University of Oxford has found.

This marks a significant increase with just over a third (34 per cent) recognising its value back in 2010.

However, despite this increased appreciation, there are still key areas which UKI companies are failing to exploit the potential of Big Data. Less than half of the companies (39 per cent) currently analyse data from social media (39 per cent), while similar volumes neglect external feeds (39 per cent) and geospatial data (37 per cent). Investigating the reasons behind the lack of uptake, the study found a ‘lack of understanding of how to use Big Data to impact business’ as the key primary obstacle, with 41 per cent of UKI respondents agreeing.

“One key reason for companies not collecting and analysing wider varieties of data lies in the veracity — or truthfulness — of insights generated from sources such as real-time data and social media,” said Matin Jouzdani, Strategy Consultant at IBM Global Business Services. “Striving for high data quality is an important Big Data requirement, and the survey respondents questioned the ability to trust rapidly growing forms of unstructured data, such as those generated from on-line consumer comments, reviews, Tweets and other forms of freely offered opinions,” he added.

“Another reason that such forms of data are being underutilised is due to the skills gap. Having the more advanced analytical capabilities for managing unstructured data — including geospatial location data, voice and video — as well as streaming data remains a top challenge for most organisations. Less than 25 per cent of the survey respondents say they have the required capabilities to analyse highly unstructured data — a major inhibitor to getting the most value from Big Data,” Martin added.

Other sources of Big Data, however, are proving more popular with UKI businesses; with 9 in 10 of UK companies gathering Big Data from business transactions. Elsewhere 72 per cent are engaging with log data, while 61 per cent are gathering Big Data from emails, and 56 per cent from events.

When asked for the reasons behind Big Data use; 38 per cent of companies cited consumer-centric outcomes as their primary reason, indicating an increased desire to understand and connect with consumers. Other reasons include using it to optimise internal operations (25 per cent), developing new business models (18 per cent), and managing finances and risk levels (16 per cent).

Source: Fresh Business Thinking