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Big data ‘fundamental’ to business performance, survey finds

Big data analytics solutions are becoming increasingly essential to firms around the world, as a new survey has revealed the technology is creating a huge amounts of disruption and changing traditional business boundaries.

A report produced by Capgemini, entitled 'Big & Fast Data: The Rise of Insight-Driven Business', found that 65 per cent of the 1,000 executives it polled say their firm is at risk of becoming uncompetitive if they do not embrace the latest big data solutions.

Almost two-thirds of respondents (64 per cent) agreed that big data is changing traditional business boundaries and allowing new competitors to enter their sector.

More than half of firms expect to face challenges from data-driven start-ups, while 27 per cent reported that they have already had to react to new players in other industries.

Head of Capgemini's global Insights and Data practice John Brahim said the results show big data has now reached an "inflection point".

"Information is at the heart of every business decision and companies need to fully embrace the opportunities of big data or risk losing out in the marketplace," he stated, adding: "Every enterprise must now define a path to become an insight-driven business. We believe it is this approach that will ultimately be a game-changer for enterprises and entire industries."

This is being reflected throughout all areas of businesses, including the boardroom, as almost a third of companies have introduced new C-suite roles to help with data management, or are in the process of doing so.

More than one in three respondents (36 per cent) said big data has become so important to their firm's overall strategy that they have been forced to circumvent IT departments in order to carry out the necessary analytics processes.

Some 52 per cent of respondents stated that limitations in the IT development process is hampering efforts to gain timely insights from their business information. This may therefore be a sign to IT leaders that they need to make delivering fast big data initiatives a priority.

C-suite executives agree that speed is of the essence of analytics initiatives are to deliver value, with more than three-quarters of these personnel (77 per cent) saying decision-makers must receive data in real time in order to reach the right conclusions.

It was noted by principal analyst and chairman at Constellation Research Ray Wang that with 90 per cent of the world's data created since 2012 and 80 billion sensors expected to be in use by 2020, businesses will have to transform their operations to cope with the exponential growth in information volumes.

"Success requires the mastery of data to [make] decisions," he said. "The ability to ingest all types of data, transform data to information, surface up insights, and take action on insights will enable organisations to create disruptive business models."

By 2020, 20 per cent of firms' revenue streams are expected to come from data-driven insights, Mr Wang continued, so it will be essential that companies are prepared for this future if they are to be successful.

He added that these companies will also possess a significant advantage in areas such as meeting regulatory compliance, improving operational efficiency, creating new revenue streams, differentiating their offerings, and delivering on brand authenticity.