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Mitigating Data Overload

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An Industry Scorecard on Big Data Business Challenges By David Baum

David Baum

94 percent of C-level executives say their organizations are collecting and managing more business information today than they did two years ago. That’s no surprise, but how much more? According to a recent survey of 333 C-level executives, the average is 86 percent, with the biggest growth coming from customer information (48 percent), operations (34 percent), and sales and marketing (33 percent).

These and other significant insights are available in a new report, “From Overload to Impact: An Industry Scorecard on Big Data Business Challenges.”

Oracle surveyed CIOs and other senior executives at U.S. and Canadian enterprises spanning 11 industries to find out how they were managing the deluge of data coming into their organizations and how well they are using that information to drive profit and growth.

The consensus is clear: Organizations across many industries are missing significant revenue opportunities by failing to optimize data management and analytics. The data deluge is here, and CIOs must invest in the applications and systems that enable them to turn increasing amounts of data into actionable intelligence and strategic insight—or run the risk of drowning in the data flood.

Following is a summary of the key takeaways from the report.

Risks and Opportunities

Lost Revenue: Executives are not prepared to handle the increasing amount of data they face. 29 percent of executives gave their organizations a D or an F rating in preparedness to manage the data deluge, and 93 percent believe their organizations are losing revenue—as much as an additional 22 percent of revenue per year—by not fully leveraging the information they collect. Only 8 percent of executives give their organization an A rating in preparedness.

Antiquated Systems: Respondents were also frustrated with their organization’s data gathering and distribution systems. 38 percent said they do not have the right systems in place to gather the information they need, 36 percent cannot give their business managers access to pertinent information, and 29 percent think they are using systems that are not designed to meet the unique needs of their industry.

Better Intelligence: 67 percent of executives say the ability to draw intelligence from their data is a top organizational priority.

Better Systems: 97 percent of respondents note their organization must improve information optimization over the next two years. Top priorities include improving the ability to translate information into actionable insight (43 percent), acquiring tools to collect more-accurate information (38 percent), and training employees to better make sense of information (38 percent).

CIO Wish List

What do CIOs need to help their organizations stay above this rising deluge? Here are the top five items on the wish list:

  1. Greater ability to translate information into actionable insight
  2. Improved tools to collect more-accurate information
  3. Improved training to help make sense of information
  4. More customized systems/applications to meet the needs of their industry
  5. Direct access for business managers to business-critical information

Industry Ratings

CIOs in the life sciences and communications industries are most confident in their organization’s ability to translate information into intelligence, with 30 percent giving their organization an A rating. The communications, manufacturing, and retail industries lose the lowest estimated percentage—10 percent—of additional annual revenue because of their current data management processes.

There’s Still Work to Do

CIOs in the public sector, healthcare, and utilities industries are least prepared to handle the data deluge—with 41 percent of public sector executives, 40 percent of healthcare executives, and 39 percent of utilities executives giving themselves a D or an F rating in preparedness. The oil and gas (22 percent) and life sciences (20 percent) industries lose the greatest estimated percentage of new annual revenue due to their current data management processes.

The Path Forward

CIOs at leading organizations offer the following recommendations for successfully managing the data deluge:

  • Take Time to Strategize: Work with key stakeholders and business units to understand their data needs. Incorporate their feedback to improve processes across the business.
  • Think Analytically: Improve your analytical support team and ensure managers have the applications and access they need to examine business-critical information firsthand.
  • Ask for What You Need: Leverage industry-specific applications and software where available. If your needs are not being met, alert your management team and/or industry suppliers.
  • Invest to Improve: Arm your organization with the appropriate technology, staff, and systems/processes needed to optimize information for true business intelligence.