By Daniel Hunter

Big data is being accepted as an important means of informing strategic business decisions, but isn’t being owned by the departments who use it most. These are the findings of a survey into businesses’ perceptions and use of Big Data, released by Stibo Systems, the multi-domain master data management solution provider.

The survey’s findings indicate that Big Data has finally moved beyond its initial hype, with businesses exploiting it for real business gain, and using analytics to underpin innovation, competitive positioning, customer experience and productivity. Three quarters of enterprises now say they use Big Data for strategic decision making, with 65 percent of finance heads confirming this to be the case.

However, the survey revealed that, despite being used across different business units, 61 percent of senior managers said their company’s data was held by the IT department, with only 7 percent saying it was the property of marketing, 21 percent saying Finance, and 9 percent admitting to not knowing who owned their business’s data. This was supported by three quarters (73 percent) of IT heads claiming ownership.

Big Data is used by the majority of companies for both external and internal facing activities, with half (53 percent) using it to improve customer relationship management and a further half to inform their marketing campaigns and strategies. Another 53 percent said that Big Data was used to allow better management of risk, while 48 percent use the data to underpin compliance and legal obligations.

The research also revealed a wider issue around how pan-European businesses manage their data with one in five not currently taking responsibility for it themselves. This means that their data is either managed by a third party, or is simply not exploited at all. Those businesses that master their own data centrally are able to utilise Big Data far more effectively than organisations with data scattered in siloes throughout an organisation. Using Master Data Management (MDM) solutions allows business to turn insights from Big Data into action, becoming a single home for behavioural information from a number of sources across the business. By not investing in MDM solutions to govern this data, businesses are not utilising Big Data to its full potential.

This is highlighted in the research which found that those businesses that do manage their own data 81% have taken steps to enrich their existing data through Big Data analysis.

Simon Walker, ‎Director, Ecommerce Innovation at Stibo Systems, comments, “It’s encouraging that Big Data is being taken seriously by businesses, and being analysed and used in a meaningful way. But, with so much of a company’s data being used for marketing purposes, or to inform financial decisions, it begs the question of why it’s largely being owned by the IT department, and not those departments that are using it. At the same time, there are a large number of enterprises being left behind in big data adoption simply due to the lack of effective data management processes. ”

He continues, “Although IT teams are the masters of the data, they shouldn’t be the owners. They need to work more closely with the respective business departments to ensure the delivery of the accurate, consistent data needed to support and inform the business leaders in making important strategic decisions.”

Other key findings include:
· 34% admit that they don’t know what their company does with Big Data
· 76% agree that their company now keeps the right amount of data
· 15% said that the organisation keeps too much data
· 10% said too little data is available
· 81% of companies use Big Data to enrich their Master Data

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