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Big data investments to boom as firms aim to catch rivals

The amount of money organisations are spending on big data analytics solutions is set for a significant increase in the coming year as companies across multiple key industrial sectors aim to ensure they do not fall behind competitors.

This is according to research conducted by Accenture and General Electric, which revealed that more than three-quarters of respondents expect to increase their spending in this area over the next 12 months. The remaining 24 per cent foresee expenditure remaining the same, with no companies expecting to cut back in this area.

Firms in industries including oil and gas, power generation, manufacturing, mining and transport were included in the study, and the results indicated that interest in big data solutions is already strong. Across all sectors examined, between 80 and 90 per cent of respondents rated big data as either their number one priority for the year ahead, or within the top three.

"This prioritisation of spending becomes clearer when we look at who is supporting Big Data initiatives," the study observed. "Simply put, it's no longer the usual suspects such as the CIO or COO. Indeed, 53 per cent of all survey respondents indicated that their Board of Directors is the primary influencer of their big data adoption strategy."

Companies are also increasingly switched on to the effect that big data will have on their industry – and the consequences of not being at the forefront of this. When asked what their biggest fears are if they are not able to implement an effective big data strategy in the next three years, losing market share to competitors was named as the top worry.

Two-thirds of executives polled rated this as one of their top three fears, with 28 per cent placing this as the number one issue. This was followed by investors losing confidence in the business (61 per cent) and an inability to competitively price their offerings (52 per cent).

These worries may be widespread, as 74 per cent of enterprises say their main competitors are already using data analytics to differentiate their offerings and highlight their strengths to clients, investors and the media. Some 93 per cent of enterprises added they are seeing new competitors in their market using big data analytics as a key strategy to make them stand out.