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Big data, big advantage

A new survey conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit has found that organisations with formal data management strategies derive more value from data assets and outperform competitors.

The survey, Big Data: Harnessing a game-changing asset, was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) and sponsored by SAS, the leader in business analytics.

The global study found that only 18 percent of 586 senior executives surveyed worked at organisations committed to collecting and analysing data via a well-defined data management plan. Among those strategic data managers, 64 percent put nearly all that data to good use.

Asked how performance compared to competitors, 53 percent of those same executives said their financial results bested those of the competition: just 36 percent of those without a data plan made the same claim.

“A well-defined data management plan ‚ systematically collecting and analysing key data ‚ is much more strongly associated with success than a disjointed data strategy,”” said Jim Davis, SAS Chief Marketing Officer and Senior Vice President.

“”Nearly half of respondents said data management strategy is sponsored by the CEO or another C-level executive, underscoring data as a strategic corporate asset,”” he said.

Big data changes everything

Growing enterprise data volumes threaten to overwhelm organisations lacking a broad data management plan. Business analytics pulls insights from massive databases commonly referred to as big data.

Clearly, most companies understand the value of big data, yet some struggle to exploit it. The biggest barriers are too much data and too few resources, said 45 percent of responses.

“”With corporate data doubling yearly, optimising information management to prepare big data for business analytics is imperative in today’s hyper-competitive business environment,”” said Davis.

Data and analytics at the core

Increased use of data has made the information technology function more strategic to the business, according to 53 percent of respondents. Big data harnessed effectively via big data analytics can transform companies, said Davis.

Use of data over the past five years “”has completely changed the way we do business,”” said 23 percent of organisations with formal data management strategies. Even in the entire pool of respondents, including non-strategic data users, 39 percent said they use data to drive strategy.

“”Data provides transformational insight, but not by just sitting there. Pulling value from data requires business analytics ‚ comprehensive technologies that manage data, analyse it and deliver insights for improved decision making,”” said Davis.

The demographics for the SAS-sponsored EIU study were:

· Geography: 31 percent North America, 31 percent Europe, 28 percent Asia Pacific, 6 percent Latin America: 5 percent Middle East and Africa.

· Company size: 48 percent less than $500 million (US) revenue: 38 percent more than $1 billion annual revenue.

· Industry: 13 percent financial services, 11 percent professional services, 11 percent manufacturing, 10 percent technology: 8 percent health care.

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