Mobile devices and social media are prompting businesses to leverage big data to boost competitiveness, an SAP report indicates.
Small to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are waking up to the benefits big data
can offer their business and are realizing the competitive advantage it can
hold, according to an online poll of 154 C-suite executives at international
companies, conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of enterprise application
software provider SAP.
The survey suggested these businesses are moving faster than their larger
competitors to leverage big data, although just 25 percent of respondents could
agree on a similar definition of big dataa loosely defined term used to
describe large, complex data sets.
Among the various definitions respondents applied to the term, 28 percent
defined it as the massive growth in transaction data, while 24 percent
described it as new technologies that address the volume, variety and velocity
challenges of big data. The deluge of information stemming from social media,
mobile devices and machine-generated devices was cited by 18 percent as their
definition of big data, while 19 percent characterized it as the requirement to
store and archive data for regulatory compliance.
Regardless of the definition, survey results indicated SMEs are aware of the
benefits big data can provide, with 70 percent expecting a return on their big
data investments within a year. More specifically, 59 percent cited more
efficient business operations as a primary benefit, followed by the ability to
boost sales (54 percent), lower IT costs (50 percent), improve business agility
(48 percent), and attract and retain customers (46 percent).
Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) initiatives and cloud-based data management
technologies are key components of a big data investment strategy, according to
the survey, with 64 percent of respondents saying their companies use cloud
technology to some extent. As companies turn to mobile devices and applications
to run their business, access to big data from these devices is top of mind
among C-level executives, with 90 percent calling it somewhat important. Out of
that group, 57 percent said instant access is either absolutely essential or
Every company should be thinking about their big data strategy whether they
are big or small, Steve Lucas, executive vice president and general manager of
database and technology for SAP, said in a prepared statement. Big data is the
unprecedented growth and convergence of social, device, equipment and corporate
data. There is an incredible amount of noise being created and without a
strategy, companies will get lost in the noise. Big data is instant access to
data and with instant insight, companies can be agile, act on emerging trends,
engage with their customer base and also expose potential risks.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.