Companies opt to add big data, despite challenges

Advanced data discovery systems and analytics tools can turn previously unusable archives into sources of competitive advantage. According to the most recent CompTIA "Big Data Insights and Opportunities" survey, firms are still struggling to fully grasp the nature and implications of big data. Those with an understanding, however, are pushing forward.

Defining and adopting
The mutable definition of "big data" itself could be holding companies back in their efforts to take full advantage of modern analytics. According to the CompTIA report, it is not surprising that companies are still on the way to insight. Big data is defined by several variables. Though the name implies scale, the information can also exist in more formats than traditional, structured archives.

"As expected for an emerging technology with an evolving definition, many executives are still moving along the big data learning curve," said CompTIA's Tim Herbert.

There are several faults in companies' data archives that imply they might not be ready to move directly from traditional business intelligence software into big data. Dividing data into silos within organizations has been normal practice in industry for years. It does not, however, suit a modern data model. CompTIA noted that nearly 75 percent of companies have a large percentage of siloed data. Combining varied types of information from disparate sources gives the context needed to improve analysis.

Employee skills may also be lacking. Managing and using large archives of data requires a new outlook from workers, and Herbert suggested that companies might have some division between departments that will ideally work together in a big data context. More than half of survey respondents indicated plans to train workers in the proper use of big data, while 32 percent suggested they would hire new help.

Other survey gives positive outlook
According to a separate survey by NewVantage Partners, big data is actually a very popular option. The study collected responses from executives at Fortune 1000 companies and government agencies and found the vast majority aware of information's promise. According to the NewVantage report, 85 percent of firms have either a plan to develop a new big data process or a system already in place. Executives suggested big data could have a wide variety of uses, with respondents naming 17 different processes named as motivators behind the high adoption rate.

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