The development of the digital exploitation of Big Data is largely a ‘do or die’ situation, according to Capgemini. By developing the right digital transformations strategy, businesses may be able to get an edge in the competition by engaging with Big Data. However, IT integration issues and organisational challenges continue to withhold easy transformation, the consulting firm finds.
Every day, people are leaving larger and larger digital footprints. The data they leave behind can be used by companies to understand the needs of customers, as well as of other businesses. The data can provide businesses with an edge over their competition, research by Capgemini suggests. In its report, titled ‘Big & Fast Data: The Rise of Insight-Driven Business’, the firm finds that “to thrive, organisations need to make sense of this big and fast-moving data, to gain real-time access to powerful insights and deliver them to the point of action.”
To get a grip on how businesses are transforming themselves to take advantage of the data, the consulting firm surveyed 1,000 senior decision-makers from across nine industries and 10 countries worldwide.
Structural competitive force
Of the respondents, 64% agrees that Big Data is changing traditional business boundaries and enabling non-traditional providers to move into their industry. Less than 10% say they do not agree. More than half (53%) expect to face competition from start-ups enabled by data, while just over a quarter (27%) expect competition from players adjacent to their industry, whose entry is opened up by their engagement with Big Data.
Given the competition which is driving an ‘adapt and survive or die’ situation, the consultancy notes that “few companies have any questions left about the ‘if’, or even about the ‘when’; everybody has realised it is time to move.” To meet this challenge, many companies have already started to deploy Big Data. The survey responses show that 50% of companies have implemented or are in the process of doing so, and a further 21% is planning to begin implementation within the next 12 months.
“There is no alternative,” Capgemini notes. Just under two-thirds (65%) of respondents agree that they risk becoming irrelevant and/or uncompetitive if they do not exploit Big Data. In addition, 59% responds that they expect the data their organisation holds to become a core component of their market value. The forces of competition will require companies to engage the data. “Digital customer experience is all about understanding the customer, and that means harnessing all sources – not just analysing all contacts with the organisation, but also linking to external sources such as social media and commercially available data.”
The investment intention of the respondents also clearly highlights the continued importance businesses place on Big Data. Around half (56%) says that investment in Big Data over the next three years will outstrip their past investment in information management.
Despite the fact that competition is driving the ‘digital revolution’ towards engaging with Big Data, a ‘best practice’ for analysing and engaging the information is yet to be developed, leaving plenty of room for innovation. According to a recent survey, only 27% of the executives surveyed described their Big Data initiatives as successful.
There are a number of issues holding back the speedy deployment of powerful analytic systems to develop a competitive edge. These are related to the current capabilities of the IT infrastructure, as well as the processes in place to roll out the demand. Almost half (47%) agrees that their organisations’ IT systems are not optimised to enable business decision makers in all departments to effectively do their jobs. The respondents also note (45%) that the current term for the development for analytic software and techniques is too drawn out and does not meet business requirements. A further 52% respond that the speed of developing insights is constrained by their current IT development process.
Getting on track
To get an analytics programme of track requires a strong presence in organisation, governance and leadership, as well as in the technology itself. Leadership is already seen as an important part of transforming to a digitally enabled business, with 43% of respondents undergoing organisational restructuring and/or appointing people to senior Big Data roles.
The researchers notes that the strongest developers use a trial and fail approach – where new proofs of concept are rapidly tested, and if value is found, scaling rapidly – rather than launching multi-year programmes. Businesses start by addressing a few real business use-case opportunities, creating an open space for dialogue with IT. The value adding proof of concept will be taken to trial, where an entire business line may be transformed, creating a new digital environment with a focus on scalability, performance and adoption. The consulting firm concludes: “What sets the successful programmes apart, though, is that they take this incremental approach within the framework of a clear strategy, ensuring investments are aligned with long-term business objectives.”