Big data ‘still seen as IT-dominated projects’

The majority of chief information officers (CIOs) still view big data analytics as primarily IT-based projects, although there is a growing recognition of the impact it can have on business departments.

This is among the findings of a new survey conducted by recruitment firm Robert Half in Australia, which revealed that 54 per cent of CIOs surveyed say the technology's main impact comes in the IT department.

However, nearly one in five professionals (18 per cent) believe that the technology has more impact on their operations departments, while 16 per cent see key benefits being felt by their finance teams. 

This indicates there is growing awareness of big data analytics' potential to transform operations throughout all parts of a business, even though there is still work to be done to improve understanding of what the technology is capable of.

For instance, almost half (49 per cent) of CIOs felt that non-IT senior management do not have enough knowledge about big data to use it effectively. David Jones, senior managing director at Robert Half Asia Pacific, said this suggests many firms are still in the early stages of incorporating analytics into their processes.

"Big data has changed everything about the way business is done, but its value is still being optimised and harnessing its fullest potential is still considered a challenge for many businesses," he continued.

Mr Jones said: "Businesses have to take on an enterprise-wide approach to leverage the full potential of what big data has to offer and senior management plays a key role. A company's board and leaders need to be fully engaged about the impact data can have on its business operations and overall success."

He noted that the initial requirements for implementing big data, such as setting up new software and hardware systems, can demand a significant financial investment from organisations, which may make executives wary. However, once fully operational, advantages such as cost reductions can have a major impact on a business' performance.

The cost of capturing the necessary information for big data analytics was named by respondents as one of the biggest challenges of big data, with 46 per cent of CIOs citing this as an issue. This was followed by data protection and security issues (43 per cent) and the technical considerations of implementing big data processes (also 43 per cent).

Mr Jones therefore said that in order to get the most out of big data, companies are increasingly looking for technology professionals who do not only have proven skills in data analytics, but also have strong business and financial acumen. This will be essential if IT teams are to clearly explain to senior management the advantages and insights they can gain from the technology.

"In our increasingly data-driven world, using data to make informed, strategic decisions that benefit operations in all departments and impact a company's bottom line is crucial for any company," he added.

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