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Big Disconnect: Only 12% Implementing Big Data Strategy

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Despite the hype, most organizations have yet to develop and implement a Big Data strategy, and few are taking advantage of product, customer, and other data sources, according to a survey of data management professionals by SAS and SourceMedia.

Just 12% of organizations surveyed are executing against a big data strategy in daily operations.

Moreover, only 5% are in the testing stage, and 11% are in the planning stage:

The most common reasons cited by respondents for not fully exploiting big data:

  • 21% don't know enough about it.
  • 15% don't understand the benefits.
  • 9% lack business support.
  • 9% lack data quality in existing systems.

Below, additional findings from the 2013 Big Data Survey report from SAS.

Lack of Data Quality and Data Governance

Asked about the likelihood that their organizations would use external big data in 2014, just 14% of respondents said "very likely" and 19% said "not likely at all." Specific concerns included data quality and accuracy, accessing the right data, reconciling disparate data, lack of organizational view into data, timeliness, compliance, and security.

The survey found no real consensus on who owns the data management strategy, with responses ranging from midlevel IT personnel up to the CEO:

Such confusion likely causes additional challenges in data strategy development and execution, SAS said.

Data Management Wishlist

Most respondents call detailed data analysis a priority for supporting business decisions, along with increased internal reporting and information access. Asked what they want from data solutions...

  • 73% said data visualizations and dashboards.
  • 53% said data profiling.
  • 44% said software as a service (SaaS).

Data Types Collected

Customer and product data top the data types being collected by organizations.

The top customer data types are...

  • Business consumer (B2B): 66%
  • End-customer (B2C): 59%
  • Citizen (public sector): 29%
  • Patient (medical sector): 23%

The product data being collected for decision making include...

  • Sell-side: 62% (data in catalogs or websites used to purchase end products)
  •  Buy-side: 61% (data on inventory, raw materials, and other assets within the supply chain)
  • MRO: 40% (data on maintenance, repair and operations)

"Big data or not, data management will help determine which companies thrive and which ones struggle in the years to come," said Todd Wright, Global Product Marketing Manager for SAS DataFlux Data Quality. "The 12% of organizations that are already planning around big data enjoy a significant competitive advantage," he added.

About the data: An online survey was fielded in December 2012 to information management professionals. The 339 respondents were screened for involvement with their organization's data management tools and processes.

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Vahe Habeshian is the director of publications at MarketingProfs and a long-time editor. Reach him via

Twitter: @habesh

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  • by Nasheen Liu @CsuiteDialogue Mon Apr 8, 2013 via web

    Great insights Vahe! The findings are consistent with what I have been hearing from the IT executives in Canada. In a recent CIO Roundtable about Big Data, we found only about 15% of the participating CIOs have implemented a Big Data strategy in their organisations. Though majority see Big Data as vital to fuel innovation, many struggle with getting C-suite buy-in. Shortage of having Big Data architects in the talent pool was also seen as a challenge. Some video footages of the discussion for your reference:

  • by Keith Kohl Mon Apr 8, 2013 via web

    Hi Vahe-

    Thanks for the article. I'm interested was this study a USA/NA focused study? We are seeing similar findings in our dealings with organizations, but larger or more leading edge companies are much further along with the Big Data strategy, particuarily in the US.

    --Keith Kohl

  • by Jason Garoutte Mon Apr 8, 2013 via web

    For marketers, "big data" might as well have been labeled "unpleasant chore". ;-) But CMOs who want to know their customers (and prospects) are going to be using a lot more data, one way or another. You can see how it will happen by looking at Google, Facebook, AdRoll, and Bizo: other companies will manage the big data on our behalf, and we will access the insights as a service.

  • by Vahe, MarketingProfs Mon Apr 8, 2013 via web

    Hi, Keith. Here's the breakdown of survey respondents by geography, per SAS:

    79% from the US

    5% from Canada

    1% from Latin America

    7% from Asia Pacific

    8% from Europe

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