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Line of business units increasingly driving big data initiatives

Decisions on big data investments are increasingly coming from line of business (LOB) units and C-level executives, a new study has revealed.

Research by International Data Corporation (IDC) carried out in Australia reveal that around a third of organizations cite data analytics as being critical to their operations. Meanwhile, 80 percent of firms have either deployed tools to assist with this or plan to do so in the next 12 months.

Shayum Rahim, IDC's head of software research and big data lead for Australia and New Zealand, said one key trend that emerged from the study is that firms are becoming much more strategic in their use of information and are using the latest technology to deliver highly specific business outcomes.

 "We spoke to senior IT executives who acknowledged a shift in focus from IT priorities to LOB requirements when it came to big data initiatives," Mr Rahim said. "There will be a growing need for chief information officers to be closer linked to LOBs and their specific goals if they are to remain relevant in rapidly changing organizational landscapes."

While this represents a huge opportunity for businesses and vendors of analytics tools, IDC noted that it will be important for providers to understand where their customers are in the big data adoption process.

It found there is a wide range of different maturity levels among enterprises, from those just starting out who have mainly ad-hoc and experimental solutions to companies that are confident in the technology and use advanced analytic tools as a key driver of their decision-making.

Mr Rahim said this is "quite a surprising result" and illustrates that vendors will need to think carefully about where in the maturity model they need to engage with customers. Decisions will need to be made by providers whether they go for the "low-hanging fruit" of companies that have a clear budget and understanding of what they want, or target firms that are just beginning to get involved with business analytics and may need expert advice and support.