Big data ‘must be made more consumable’

One of the key challenges facing firms investing in big data solutions is making sure they implement the right tools to make the data easier to interpret, so it can be acted upon quickly.

The importance of a good data analytics platform is widely recognized, with more than 85 percent of business and IT leaders polled by IDG Research Services saying there is substantial value to be gained from big data analytics.

Key business outcomes professionals expect to see as a result of adopting these solutions include gaining competitive advantage, the ability to stay ahead of market trends, improved customer satisfaction and better employee productivity.

However, getting up to speed with analytics technologies quickly was identified as a key issue that is hindering the development of these tools in many enterprises. 60 percent of respondents said their big data projects typically take 18 months or more to complete, while more than half said they usually need to bring in third party experts and consultants to make their rollout a success.

This is largely due to an inability to automate the gathering and interpretation of large amounts of both structured and unstructured data. IDG's survey found 81 per cent of workers still find themselves relying on manual data aggregation in order to derive results.

Although 91 per cent want their IT department to enable easier information aggregation, there is a large resource and skills gap that means these demands are often not met, it was observed.

Therefore, the need for more consumable solutions is clear. 85 per cent of respondents to IDG's survey said user-centric tools will be crucial in addressing issues related to time-to-value and real-time access.

By making these tools more consumable, IT leaders expect to see improvements in their organization's productivity and closer partnerships between IT and business units. More user-friendly solutions were said to be valuable no matter what use respondents plan to put their data analytics tools to.

Another key challenge will be ensuring that firms are able to cut through the vast amounts of data gathered in today's environment to drill down to the most relevant information. This is something that many businesses are currently failing to, it was recently stated.

Diane Shelton, head of consumer strategy at NBN, told an audience at the Australian Information Industry Association that one of the challenges is personnel often have a very short amount of time in which to analyze results, which can make it difficult to spot the key points, reports.

She said: "Our data colleagues who are working with it all day are just swamped with information, so there's a lot of noise and online gives you more noise than you ever wanted."

As a result, businesses are not able to make the most of powerful big data platforms, which leads to some executives taking the decision not to use them as they are viewed as too complex.

Ms Shelton likened the latest big data solutions to "Rolls-Royces" that companies are unable to use because they do not have a driver's license.