Big Data Challenges Business Data Strategies: CompTIA

More companies believe they’ve made progress, saying they are either very close or exactly where they want to be in data management and utilization.

The big data phenomenon has business of all sizes re-evaluating methods and strategies for managing and using data, according to a survey of 500 U.S. business and IT executives responsible for technical or strategic decisions affecting data at their company, which was conducted by IT industry non-profit organization CompTIA.

With greater focus and resources devoted to data, more companies believe they’ve made progress, with 57 percent saying they are either very close or exactly where they want to be in data management and utilization--up from 37 percent the year before.

Businesses participating in the study said shortcomings in managing and using data can impact a business in several ways, including, wasted time that could be spent in other areas of the business, internal confusion over priorities, lost sales and reduced margins due to operational inefficiencies, inability to effectively assess staff performance and inefficient or slow decision-making and a lack of agility.

"Data has always been important in the business world, but the big data trend has elevated its importance, pushing companies to be smarter in how they manage and use data," Tim Herbert, vice president, research and market intelligence for CompTIA, said in a statement. "While the threshold for what constitutes big data continues to evolve, businesses of all sizes will seek ways to unlock additional value from the data that’s most relevant to them, be it on a large or small scale."

Top strategies to better position themselves to capitalize on big data opportunities included investing in technical training, investigating partner programs and aligning with big data vendors, hiring staff with big data expertise, and looking for partnership opportunities.

The number of firms reporting a high degree of silos grew from 16 percent in 2012 to 29 percent in 2013, and nearly eight in 10 executives cited the need for better real-time analytics and improvement in converting data into actionable intelligence. Additionally, eight out of 10 firms reported having some degree of data silos in their organization.

Nearly one in three channel partners report providing big data application deployment or integration services. Over the next 12 months, an additional 14 percent expect to offer big data consulting or advisory services. Six in 10 respondents in the study acknowledge a need to boost employee skill levels on the technical or business side of data management and analysis. Two-thirds of firms said they plan to invest in training for current employees, while 43 percent signal intent to hire new workers with data-specific expertise.

"Emerging technologies associated with big data provide an expanding set of tools for aggregating, storing, processing and analyzing data," the study noted. "Companies seeking to get the most out of these advances will need to address the human side of the equation, too."