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Companies’ increased customer focus, demand for business growth and expansion and the need to keep up with competitors are all fueling big data adoption, according to industry sources. In a February 2015 study conducted by Vanson Bourne for CA Technologies, improving the customer experience (60%) and the need to get new customers (54%) were the leading factors driving the need for big data projects, according to IT managers worldwide. Increasing top-line revenue growth (46%), entering new markets (42%), keeping up with the competition (41%) and outpacing competitors (34%) followed.
May 2015 polling by 2nd Watch found similar results. Here, US IT and business execs cited identifying new areas for business growth or product strategy (33%) as well as areas for operational efficiency and cost savings (28%) as the top drivers for big data plans, followed by better understanding customers and improving the customer experience (25%).
However, challenges related to skill sets and poor technology arise when it comes to actually implementing big data. Among 2nd Watch respondents, data quality issues, outdated infrastructure and a lack of internal expertise were the biggest hurdles to execution.
Promisingly, CA Technologies found that companies were putting money toward improving such issues. When asked about the major investment areas required for big data projects, IT managers ranked training employees on big data technologies and hiring new resources with the required skills highly. Technology also came into play, with respondents pointing to new infrastructure, management tools for existing infrastructure and cloud or hosted infrastructure services as spending areas.
What do firms stand to gain from devoting time and money to improving tech and expertise? A lot. CA Technologies found that while few senior IT managers were already seeing benefits from big data projects, nearly half or more expected to see each perk listed in the future. Around six in 10 respondents were experiencing or anticipated experiencing faster time to market, increased revenues, more effective targeting and improved competitive positioning as a result of such efforts, while the majority said the same about increased quality and the release of new products and services that wouldn’t have been possible before.
Companies looking to improve the customer experience, grow revenues and reach, and remain competitive would be wise to ramp up the employee expertise and technology that big data execution requires.
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