With so many research reports out there, you may wonder which reports are worth your time.
As BARC says, “Big data is a topic that companies can no longer ignore – that is, if they want to maintain their competitive edge in a business world that is changing faster than ever.” I have heard this at every conference from the advocates of big data. At the same time I watched the BI and analytics practitioners shrug their shoulders and ask: “But what are the use case?” The Big Data Use Cases 2015 survey from BARC answers precisely this question. It’s an example of important research that’s worth reading because we can learn more from use cases than from prophetic statements about big data’s significance.
In the Big Data Use Cases 2015 survey, the biggest takeaway for me is: “In companies where big data initiatives are an integrated part of business processes, management is the main driver or thought leader. However, that is only the case 34 percent of the time in companies where such an initiative is only conceivable in the future. As a whole, business departments are still very passive and much less likely to be the drivers behind this topic. Companies with big data initiatives report considerable advantages. Topping the list are better strategic decisions (69 percent), improved control of operational processes (54 percent), better understanding of customers (52 percent) and cost reductions (47 percent).”
What is apparent in this statement is the value of understanding the role and benefits of integrating big data in the business and operational process. This is where money is made in every enterprise. Revenues are not generated in the analytics department but in operations. Thus, it should come as no surprise that management is typically driving these initiatives. In my personal experience many big data projects remain just research projects or pet projects within departments. The results of such projects never propagate to operations and thus never produce monetary value. It is also quite clear that better decisions, better control of operations and better customer knowledge correlate directly with monetary and competitive gains. Hence, I strongly support the idea that big data should be put to use in operations.
The second interesting finding from my perspective is that many enterprises still use their standard BI tools. That is natural as users prefer to use tools they are already familiar with. Since Information Builders is a BI platform provider, we treat data as an asset that can be used to generate monetary benefits; we are agnostic of the source and size of the data. The most important goal for us is to give the user the tools to maximize data assets benefits. Extending the use of the BI platform to new data assets is what maximizes the ROI on the BI investment as a whole.
But even more critically, big data is a tricky asset and not everyone has the skills to analyze it. That’s why we recommend building apps for the operational users. These apps allow users to get answers quickly to business questions to make better decisions, thus allowing everyone in the enterprise to benefit from big data analytics.
Information Bloggers is a conversation between people at the nexus of business analytics, mobile apps, cloud computing, social media, and big data. Together we are developing information management strategies that change behavior and transform business. Many of us work for Information Builders and, as such, are passionate about customer satisfaction and dedicated to excellence. Our views are our own. Welcome to the discussion!