CIOs are still often in charge of Big Data strategy, but this is changing as buy-in from business executives enhances profitability
The Big Data Payoff: Turning Big Data into Business Value, by Informatica, and Capgemini, reveals that companies making the most progress with operationalising Big Data projects are those with a well-structured governance, a disciplined approach to implementation, and engaged business leadership. The survey of over 200 senior IT and data management executives, however, showed that currently under one-third (27%) of Big Data projects are profitable, with the majority of organisations still having significant work to do in order to make the most of their investment. A key indicator of Big Data profitability is business ownership: COOs and CDOs are more than twice as likely to be running profitable Big Data projects than CIOs. While currently over half (52%) report that CIOs are responsible for Big Data strategy, ownership is shifting towards business stakeholders with the COO (20%), CTO (16%) and CMO (16%) also likely to be involved.
“The study provides insights into those organisations that are realising positive business impact from their big data investments. The companies that are reaping benefits are embracing business ownership of Big Data which drives a step-change in performance,” said John Brahim, Head of Capgemini’s Insights & Data Global Practice. “Clearly the key battleground is in the leadership of initiatives, echoing what we’ve witnessed in Digital Transformation. The study suggests however that many organisations have some way to go before they become truly insights-driven, with budget constraints and integration highlighted as significant challenges in fully operationalising Big Data.”
The results from the joint Capgemini and Informatica study show the growing influence of business stakeholders on Big Data initiatives, with the COO most likely to be leading the projects that are progressing effectively. Organisations making a profit from Big Data initiatives also tend to be more efficient in managing data quality and data governance and better at applying organisational standards:
- Three quarters (75%) of profitable respondents reported they’d made excellent or very good progress in improving data quality and data governance, compared to 50% overall.
- An additional 75% said they were excellent or very good in the area of standardising and improving consistency across the organisation, compared to 47% overall.
Amit Walia, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer at Informatica, said: “The survey findings show a direct correlation between the use of data quality and governance practices and profitable outcomes from big data projects. Achieving business value repeatedly and sustainably requires focusing investments around the three key pillars of data management: big data integration, big data quality and governance, and big data security.”
Other key findings of the study reveal:
- More than one-half of all respondents (55%) report that regular, ongoing Big Data projects are in progress today at either the enterprise or department level.
- 49% of respondents who noted high levels of executive buy-in reported that their Big Data initiatives are profitable, compared to just 6% who do not have executive support
- The three most common benefits of Big Data strategies overall are improvements in decision-making (37%), collaboration and information sharing (34%) and productivity (33%).
- Among those organisations with profitable projects, the number one benefit (51%) is improved customer satisfaction and customer retention.
- In general, budget constraints (44%) and integration (35%) were highlighted as significant challenges to becoming insights-driven organisations.
- While only 27% of Big Data initiatives are profitable, 45% say they are breaking even, 12% indicate Big Data initiatives are losing money (12% say it is too early to tell).
- There is a pronounced split on business ownership between the US and Europe, with 39% of projects controlled by the CIO in the US, compared to 64% in European companies.
- Strategy execution is most often in the hands of data specialists (30%), and sometimes IT management (28%) or Database Architects (21%).
Insight-driven: the journey to data fueled digital transformation
Most Big Data projects are still either breaking even or losing money and the majority of organisations are not yet insight-driven. To fully operationalise Big Data, organisations are recommended to:
- Ensure executive sponsorship and leadership of Big Data initiatives. Anything below boardroom level will not be enough to drive lasting change.
- Extend existing information architecture by modernising data warehousing systems while integrating new big data technologies.
- Create a robust, collaborative data governance framework that enables organisational agility, while incorporating data security, and data quality.
- Work towards a dynamic, data-driven culture that involves both executives and employees at the earliest stages in developing, using and improving Big Data solutions.
For The Big Data Payoff report, Capgemini and Informatica worked with IDG to survey 210 companies with employee base greater than 1,000, with an average employee base of just over 22,000 in the European enterprises and just under 24,000 at U.S. companies, globally across consumer goods; retail, wholesale and logistics; utilities and telecoms. Also, focus group interviews were conducted with senior executives responsible for overseeing Big Data initiatives at leading organisations.