Software // Information Management
News
10/24/2012
01:00 PM
Connect Directly
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

6 Lies About Big Data

Our 2013 Big Data Survey shows we're not lacking facts, figures, or tools to wrangle them. So why do just 9% of respondents rate themselves as extremely effective users of data?

To paraphrase an old saying, if you torture data long enough, it'll tell you what you want to hear. And putting big data through that torture only lets us tell bigger lies. Marketing can justify crazy ad campaigns: "Sentiment analytics shows our latest campaign is actually a huge hit with the under-25-urban-vegan demo!" The supply chain team can use it to get more funding: "Our geolocation analysis shows if we invest in robotic warehouse automation, we'll reduce costs by 15%." Sales can explain why it missed its numbers: "We don't have an iOS app, and smartphone data shows that's what 87.4% of customers use. It's not our fault."

Don't get us wrong. The ability to collect and analyze data is a core IT value proposition. Companies such as Wal-Mart, FedEx, and Southwest Airlines gained strategic advantage by digging into their core business data long before it was labeled "big." And there's no question that more data is available than ever before, especially information from the Web and smart mobile devices. Our beef, though, is that most businesses aren't good at using the data they have now. What are the odds they'll get better at analysis by adding volumes without changing their strategies?

Our InformationWeek 2013 Big Data Survey shows that some companies are making progress. For example, most have built the required infrastructure and support various roles, in terms of primary data users; about one-third say they encourage wide access to information for business users. However, when it comes to data acquisition and use models, the wheels start to fall off. There are major gaps in data analysis, even for the most common types of information: transaction data, system logs, email, CRM, Web analytics.

6 Big Data Lies

Get the 2013 Big Data Survey full report free with registration.

This report includes 32 pages of action-oriented analysis, packed with 23 charts. What you'll find:
  • Outlook on use of cloud services for big data management
  • Top 14 big data tools in use, from Excel to Exadata to EDW
Get This And All Our Reports

Worse, fewer than 10% of the respondents to our survey say that ideas for promising new data points are primarily driven by a collabo- rative or cross-functional team within their companies. The stats we gleaned from our survey suggest this percentage should be much higher: Nearly half of respondents have 500 terabytes of data or more under management; 13% have more than 10 petabytes.

Surely there are untapped riches.

IT organizations clearly know there's a problem, as only 9% of respondents rate their companies as extremely effective users of the data they have. However, just 4% admit they stink at putting their data to its best use. Fact is, many organizations are deluding themselves into thinking they're empowering their businesses. So before you buy more storage, upgrade your warehouse platform, or spin up a massive Hadoop instance, let's take a reality check. Here are six big data lies organizations tell themselves. How many have you heard lately?

Lie 1: We understand how much data we have today

We asked in our survey which of seven key data sources are actively managed, hoping to see respondents widen their view beyond servers, storage arrays, and archives. Unfortunately, only 30% of respondents factor in their organization's cloud data, and just 11% include supply chain information. All that information zipping around on mobile devices? Considered by just 35% of survey respondents.

If you don't include dynamic data sets, you're setting your analysis up for failure. How can you do vendor performance reviews without details on how well suppliers do getting the right goods to you at the right time for a competitive price? Likewise, if you're studying customer behavior, how can you get a true picture without Web or cloud-based CRM data?

chart: Who are the primary users of your company's data?

Previous
1 of 3
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Engineer Veteran
50%
50%
Engineer Veteran,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/13/2012 | 2:06:29 PM
re: 6 Lies About Big Data
I couldn't agree more. There is so much hype about 'big data' when reality is that most organizations don't have the guts to actually do something that data clearly points out is needed.
Patrick Taylor
50%
50%
Patrick Taylor,
User Rank: Apprentice
11/10/2012 | 6:35:11 PM
re: 6 Lies About Big Data
Lie # 6 is the key - doing something with the analysis. Often the focus of analytic success stories is the really smart strategic decisions. But let's face it you don't make that many strategic decisions. Now think about tactical decisions - retaining a customer, what product to offer, what price to pay for supplies. There are several orders of magnitude more tactical decisions than strategic ones.

"Doing something with our analysis" at the front lines of business will drive ROI from Big Data.
The Agile Archive
The Agile Archive
When it comes to managing data, donít look at backup and archiving systems as burdens and cost centers. A well-designed archive can enhance data protection and restores, ease search and e-discovery efforts, and save money by intelligently moving data from expensive primary storage systems.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Government Oct. 20, 2014
Energy and weather agencies are busting long-held barriers to analyzing big data. Can the feds now get other government agencies into the movement?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
A roundup of the top stories and trends on InformationWeek.com
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.