A net 72 percent of companies that have self-reported launching some form of big data initiative say that their results have exceeded expectations. However, the report also reveals that much more work is needed to harness and make use of data.
The report is based on an online survey of 402 business and IT professionals conducted in September and October.
“The main takeaway is that data has become a critical component for most businesses,” said Seth Robinson, CompTIA’s senior director of technology analysis. “They ultimately want new insights from their data, but they also need to consider how their data is stored and managed. There is channel opportunity in data management, relying on tools and skills that the channel is already familiar with, and there is also opportunity in more advanced analytics, requiring new tools and skills.”
About three-quarters of organizations surveyed said their business would be stronger if they could harness all of their data. Additionally, 75 percent of companies said they should be more aware of data privacy, while 73 percent said they need better real-time analysis.
“The most surprising finding was the high number of companies that report big-data initiatives in place,” Robinson said. “Like cloud, companies are likely classifying any new data initiative as big data, even if the initiative uses a more traditional approach. There is obviously still benefit to be gained here as companies improve their data capabilities in different ways. The least surprising finding is the number of companies reporting data silos. This number has steadily increased as more companies take a serious look at their existing data in preparation for new projects.”
Companies cited several factors for the increased importance of data: Almost two-thirds (63 percent) rely on data for day-to-day operations; more than three in five (61 percent) cited sensitivity around data privacy; 60 percent use data to better understand customers; 59 percent rely on data to measure business objectives; and 56 percent said they store data outside the company.
Across the board, companies see data of all types growing in volume, led by customer data, email and instant messages, log files and documents, according to the report. They’re also dealing with fragmented and siloed data.
“One of the big challenges for the channel is …
… to think about data initiatives holistically,” Robinson said. “Rather than handling individual aspects of data, such as storage, backup or security, channel firms should think about how to educate clients on an end-to-end approach to data, which will yield the best results. End users have reported difficulty finding channel firms with this end-to-end expertise.”
For companies seeking to move from the basic to the more advanced, Robinson advises them to take measured steps at each of the three stages of data usage: collection and storage; processing and organization; and analysis and visualization. By doing so, companies will be better prepared to assess new data technology options, evaluate potential partners for data initiatives and be positioned to more fully realize the potential of big data, he said.
Companies expressed a willingness to work with third parties for help with their data initiatives. More than one-third currently work with an IT firm for their data needs, although these engagements tend to be somewhat simplistic, such as data storage and backup, according to the report. But as companies become more aggressive with their data initiatives, IT channel firms may find opportunities to offer comprehensive end-to-end services around data, it said.