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User-centric tools go long way to reaping most benefits from big data projects, says IDG survey

Dana Gardner (Dana_Gardner) on ‎05-24-2013 10:22 AM

Big data is proving to be like the proverbial 800-pound gorilla -- big and powerful, but difficult to tame and control.


While nearly 90 percent of business and IT leaders agree that big data can be useful in making intelligent business decisions, only one-third of companies have implemented big-data initiatives. That's the finding from a recent International Data Group (IDG) survey, sponsored by Kapow Software.


Furthermore, more than 50 percent of survey respondents said that they had only lukewarm success with getting big data to deliver value in terms of competitive advantage, differentiation, top-line growth, strategic insights, employee productivity and effectiveness, among other business metrics.


Respondents reported that big-data projects take too long, cost too much, and aren't delivering a sufficient return on investment (ROI). Part of this is because these projects require expensive consultants or hard-to-find data scientists. Yet, while this lag in adoption continues, the mass of data from a variety of sources is growing.


Among the barriers to drawing value out of big data, according to survey respondents, are:


  • High cost and complexity. Many business leaders believe such projects require a prohibitively expensive infrastructure. Sixty percent said projects take 18 months or more to complete.
  • Employee workarounds. Respondents said employees often take matters into their own hands, but without effective solutions, are resorting to manual aggregation. This is putting pressure on IT to automate these efforts.
  • Poor data accessibility. Nearly half of IT leaders said they find it difficult to find, access, and integrate the right information, which is often unstructured and spread among a wide variety of sources.
  • Lacking skills and tools. Big data is proving to be inaccessible by employees without special training, again putting pressure on IT to pave the way.

Despite the current low reliance on big data, adoption is expected to increase over the next 12 months, as business and IT leaders turn to user-centric tools -- such as those provided by Kapow Software. With such tools, IT leaders anticipate improved productivity and a better relationship with the business leaders.


Business leaders surveyed are looking for a variety of benefits from an increased use of big data. They say the following are either "critical" or "very important:"


  • More informed business decision - 80 percent
  • Increased competitive advantage - 71 percent
  • Improved customer satisfaction - 68 percent
  • Increased end-user productivity - 62 percent
  • Improved security or compliance - 60 percent
  • New products and services - 55 percent
  • Monitoring and responding to social media in real time - 33 percent.

For more information on the survey results, go to or [Disclosure: Kapow Software is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]


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About the Author


Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Gardner, a leading identifier of software and cloud productivity trends and new IT business growth opportunities, honed his skills and refined his insights as an industry analyst, pundit, and news editor covering the emerging software development and enterprise infrastructure arenas for the last 18 years. Gardner tracks and analyzes a critical set of enterprise software technologies and business development issues: Cloud computing, SOA, business process management, business intelligence, next-generation data centers, and application lifecycle optimization. His specific interests include Enterprise 2.0 and social media, cloud standards and security, as well as integrated marketing technologies and techniques. Gardner is a former senior analyst at Yankee Group and Aberdeen Group, and a former editor-at-large and founding online news editor at InfoWorld. He is a former news editor at IDG News Service, Digital News & Review, and Design News.

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