A new study by the Economist Intelligence Unit has just been released that shows how big data is moving from its infancy to “data adolescence,” in which companies are increasingly meeting the challenges of a data-driven world.
The report, called “Big Data Evolution,” details the ways in which companies’ attitudes and activities have changed over the past four years with regards to big data — collecting it, storing it, analyzing it, and using it to make business decisions about strategy.
Data is becoming a corporate asset
The report shows that, since 2011, substantially more companies are treating their data as what it actually is: a strategic corporate asset. The initial excitement about the possibilities presented by big data is morphing into a more strategic approach, defining which data initiatives will have the biggest and most immediate impact.
I refer to this as asking the right questions. Companies are getting a bit savvier, and on the whole, are not asking for more data, but rather the right data to help solve specific problems and address certain issues.
Because of this greater understanding, executives are more likely to report they are making good, fact-based decisions about their data and their business.
In addition, data strategy has been elevated to the C-level, usually centralized with a CIO/CTO or a newly-appointed Chief Data Officer (CDO). Outside that position, executives across the board are more likely to be in charge of their departments’ particular data initiatives and instrumental in putting those resources to use.
Good data management foretells success
Another important finding of the survey points to a strong correlation between good data management practices and financial success.
Companies with a well defined data policy, are much more likely to report that they are financially competitive with their peers and rivals. In addition, they’re more likely to report that their data initiatives are successful and effective at resolving real business problems.
The reason for this could be that data initiatives are moving out of the realm of theoretical possibility and well into reality, demonstrating the ability to focus on real business problems and provide practical solutions.
Less about volume and velocity than value
One final encouraging trend the report finds is that the “bigness” of big data is starting to wear off. Companies are less focused on the quantity of data they can collect and the speed at which they can access it, and more focused on the value the data can provide for their business.
I strongly believe that the right data is much more important and valuable than simply collecting more data, and the report bears that out.
As technology continues to improve, the “bigness” of big data will become less and less of a factor. Companies are becoming more comfortable with the idea that they will need to scale up to allow the value of data initiatives to reach all sectors of the business, and so they are becoming more comfortable with approximation, agility and experimentation.
From my point of view, all of these are positive signs that big data is moving out of its infant stages and is well on the way to data maturity.
This article was written by Bernard Marr from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.