Chief information officers (CIOs) need to appreciate that innovation should extend far beyond new technology solutions if they are to make the most of the opportunities presented by big data.

This is according to Gartner, which observed that in order for data analytics processes to be successful, senior personnel need to understand how business problems can be analyzed and come up with innovative solutions in order to create value.

Research vice-president at the firm Hung LeHong said that as well as ensuring they have the right technology solutions in place, "enterprises must be willing to innovate in the way they perform decision support and analytics".

He explained this is not a technology change, but rather a challenge of process and change management.

Mr LeHong said CIOs need to treat big data analytics processes as 'innovation projects' that require new ways of thinking about how firms operate.

He added it will take time to trust new sources of data that are identified as a part of this, so organizations looking to employ analytics for the first time should begin with small pilots that allow them to gain understanding of the transparency of data and how analytics can be used to derive useful insight.

Gaining this knowledge is important, as in many cases there is no precedent for how the use of big data can help an enterprise. Gartner observed it has only recently become possible for many businesses to run this kind of analysis or accept new sources of data.

The company said: "Seeking value from big data technologies requires innovative thinking and a willingness to accept and trust these sources and methods."

It is therefore vital that CIOs work with business departments to fully understand the types of insight that will be available from embracing the latest analytics solutions. Creative thinking in this area can ensure that even existing data can be made richer.

Gartner stated that enterprises using big data technologies can afford to keep the full, raw data, building up rich sources of data that can provide new insight. However, it was observed that IT leaders need to ensure that there is always a clear business purpose and outcome for storing this new data.