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Putting Numbers to the Big Data Opportunity

by Dave Hannon

September 13, 2012

By Dave Hannon

As the volume of data available to the enterprise explodes, more companies are tasked with harnessing the power of big data to improve strategic value both internally and externally for customers. A 2011 report from the McKinsey Global Institute confirms that the market is “on the cusp of a tremendous wave of innovation, productivity, and growth, as well as new modes of competition and value capture – all driven by big data as consumers, companies, and economic sectors exploit its potential.”

Just how big is this opportunity and where exactly is it coming from? I gathered up a few bits of research lately that might help put this opportunity in context. 

Social technology, one of the key contributors to this data explosion, provides a unique example of the opportunities available today. In its early days, many businesses may not have seen this technology and its masses of data as a conduit to productivity and increased competitiveness. But today, the collaboration capabilities and customer information gained through social technology offer big upside for many companies looking to grow their business. The McKinsey Global Institute concludes that “twice a s much potential value lies in using social tools to enhance communications, knowledge sharing, and collaboration within and across enterprises …. By fully implementing social technologies, companies have an opportunity to raise the productivity of interaction workers—high-skill knowledge workers, including managers and professionals—by 20 to 25%.”

Another major contributor to the growth of big data is information being collected and shared between devices, much of which went on completely behind the scenes, leaving masses of useful data on the table. According to a report by MarketsandMarkets, by 2013 there will be more than 1 trillion connected devices sharing data. The total M2M market is expected to reach $86 billion by 2017 growing at a rate of 26% from 2012 to 2017. All of that data can be levered by business users for competitive advantage if they can find the right solutions to do so.

The availability of so much data is changing the decision-making process and roles in the enterprise dramatically. More roles within the enterprise are relying on analytics to make their decisions. Gartner reports that the number of users who will need to access analytics will rise to 50% of all employees by 2014. And by 2020 that number will grow to 75%. Gartner also predicts that, by 2013, 33% of BI functionality will be consumed via handheld devices.

Cloud computing is no longer viewed as vague IT solution deep in the data center. Today it is viewed as a solution that can be leveraged to collect or analyze data more quickly and put more power in the hands of functional roles. In a recent survey by CFO Resea rch, 76% of finance executives polled agree that a solid cloud computing strategy will be important for their company’s success within the next 12 to 18 months. In addition, 67% say that the cloud would improve their IT department’s capacity to innovate, and focus on activities that add value to the business, such as implementing more analytics technology instead of managing in-house servers and applications. 

The opportunities are there, right in front of you. The only question is how will you capitalize on them. And will it be before or after your competitors do? 

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