Big Data ‘Fails Businesses’ Due To Access, Skills Shortage

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Skill shortage, red tape, and tardy access to information cited for Big Data failings among businesses

Big Data is failing businesses and costing them £20m in missed opportunities, at least according to a survey from flash storage provider Pure Storage.

It cited a number of reasons for the failure, but specifically blamed a lack of quick access to critical information, a lack of workers skilled in data management, and red tape.


The pan-European report entitled “Big Data’s Failure” highlights the struggle businesses are experiencing in trying to access the information they need in a timely manner. The report found that over half (51 percent) of businesses have missed opportunities they didn’t see coming because they lacked accurate information at a time when they really needed it

This has cost businesses up to £2 million a year in lost revenue per company (for those with sales between £100 million and £500 million). But for companies turning over more than £1 billion per year, the cost is a lot more – an estimated £20 million per company, per year.

Nearly a third (31 percent) had it happen more than once a year, and almost a fifth (19 percent) saw it happen a few times a week.

dataAnd over three quarters (72 percent) of businesses admitted to collecting data they never use. Nearly half (48 percent) said that this is because it’s too time consuming. But cost also plays a part, as one in five businesses cited data processing costs as too expensive.

Meanwhile over three quarters (78 percent) believe they could boost performance by at least 21 percent with faster insights.

“The reason we’re seeing these trends emerge is because it is now cheaper for businesses to retain the data they are collecting, than to destroy it – so the volume of data a business holds is growing rapidly,” said James Petter, VP EMEA, Pure Storage. “But at the same time, it is complicated and costly to access usable information fast enough to make a difference.”

“Companies often have access to the same information,” said Petter. “It’s the speed and simplicity of tools with which they can harness it into actionable insights that disrupts their competitors. As companies gather more and more granular data on what they do, the potential to gain understanding and plan accordingly is not just a profitable undertaking, it is a necessity.”

“Transformation is being forced on organisations at an ever-increasing pace,” he added. “They must adapt to new ways of doing business, new markets and new practices – or die.”

Red Tape

So what exactly is going wrong with Big Data to be causing such problems? Well over half (56 percent) of respondents said bureaucratic red tape was the most serious obstacle for business productivity.

“Bureaucratic red tape around access to information is preventing companies from using their data to find those unique pieces of insight that lead to great ideas.,” said Petter. “Data ownership is no longer just the remit of the CIO, the democratisation of insight across businesses enables them to disrupt the competition.”

But regulations are also causing worry, with one in ten of the companies citing data protection concerns as holding up their dissemination of information and data throughout their business. The upcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation will soon affect every single company that stores data.

It should be noted that Pure Storage is not the only firm warning about issues to do with Big Data.

In October analyst house Gartner warned businesses which misuse their big data and analytics programs, could be putting both them and their customers at risk.

It claimed the increasing rise of big data projects has also led to an increase in damaging failures. The firm has also predicted that 50 percent of business ethics violations will occur through improper use of big data analytics by 2018.

But it is not all bad news.

A recent survey by CA Technologies found that nine in 10 organisations are experiencing or expect to see, more effective targeted marketing and selling campaigns thanks to using big data, and 88 percent anticipated increased revenue.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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