A large number of businesses may not understand the full extent of what big data can do for them as they are unable to effectively measure the performance of the technology within their company.

This is among the findings of a new survey by IDG Research Services and Kapow Software, which revealed that even though many firms think big data analytics projects are worth proceeding with, there is uncertainty on how to ensure they are getting a good return on investment, Information Week reports.

While more than 85 percent of IT and businesses leaders surveyed agree that a quality data analytics solution can help them make better-informed decisions, they are not clear on how this leads to real-terms results. 

Kapow Software said: "It's really difficult to pinpoint and surgically extract critical insights without hiring expensive consultants or data scientists in short demand. The broader issue at hand is a growing mass of data that's difficult to collect from a wide variety of sources."

Big data solutions that are easier to use will therefore be in high demand among organizations of all sizes. 85 percent of respondents to the study stated strategies need to be user-centric.

Currently, many businesses report that employees who do not have special training in big data analysis have to rely on their IT departments to gain information from analyzing large data sets.

Kapow Software said this means many businesses perceive a lack of simple tools that make it easy to interpret information as a barrier to the successful implementation of big data projects as solutions to support business objectives, with the result that the tools are still viewing mainly as an IT endeavor. 

However, the survey also suggests these are not seen as insurmountable obstacles and the widespread recognition of the potential benefits of big data may override these concerns.

While 32 percent of companies have set up big data initiatives to date, the survey revealed the number of projects underway is expected to double in the next 12 months.