cfo-as logo
Story image

Lack of Big Data skills hamper ANZ businesses

03 Dec 2013

ANZ businesses are eager to implement big data projects but in order to succeed they need better skills and communication.

According to a survey by Hitachi Data Systems, the single biggest factor hampering adoption of big data in ANZ is a lack of in-house skills, as 43% of organisations said that it was a key barrier.

The research paper titled “The Hype and the Hope: The Road to Big Data Adoption in Asia-Pacific”, claims the 166 ANZ businesses surveyed also cite a lack of suitable software and problems with overly complicated reports as a holding back adoption.

“The key challenge for organisations seeking to reap the benefits of big data is to acquire the right skill sets and manage communication better across the enterprise and between departments,” says Neville Vincent, senior vice president and general manager, Hitachi Data Systems Asia Pacific.

“We believe that over time organisations will appoint a data scientist who combines the disciplines of business, statistical analysis, and software development, enabling businesses to properly harness the true value from their data.”

The survey also claims nearly 40% of organisations in ANZ do not have a big data strategy, primarily due to the communication and skills challenge. Nearly 20% plan to roll out big data solutions, but those plans had been poorly communicated.

Big Data Directly Affects the Bottom Line

The survey results indicate that businesses see value from making investments in big data. The value seen by almost half of the firms surveyed in Asia Pacific believe is that big data can improve revenue by 25% or more.

As a result, the 500+ companies being surveyed anticipate a potential increase of US$250 billion in revenue.

Despite the lack of progress, Australian respondents mirror the belief that big data can improve their business: more than 70% believe it can deliver gains in productivity, profitability and innovation.

Other expected benefits from respondents include:

• 63% expect to see a 25% or higher improvement in knowledge management and transfer in their company

• 73% expect forecasting accuracy to improve by 25% or more

• 76% expect management / strategic decision making to improve by 25% or more

Organisations Increasingly Tap Social Media and Machine-Generated Data

The report also showed that 92% of businesses in ANZ rely on their own internal databases to source information, while 53% are sourcing syndicated data from third-party providers.

Thirty seven percent of ANZ businesses are using social media data sources such as Facebook,Twitter, YouTube and blogs for data insight.

Businesses also increasingly tap location-based and contact centre data, while 20% are using machine-generated data such as sensors, smart grid, RFID, network logs and telematics to make business decisions.

Across the Asia Pacific region, some 80% of front-line employees believe that improved access to data is critical, but only 19% say they can always access the data they need.

The challenge of implementing the right data management systems resulted in only 12% of ANZ businesses claiming they had achieved success with their big data strategies.

However, 39% reported some level of success with their big data strategy. The key to success for organisations seeking to extract value from their data strategies is to ensure that they create the right technology infrastructure for an environment in which technical expertise and information are shared across teams.

“Businesses should adopt policies that help break down silos, improve internal communications and establish advanced technology platforms, which can deliver a substantial lift to revenue and bottom line,” Vincent adds.

“The survey shows there is a strong appetite for data analytics and we expect this sector to take off in the next year as organisations recognise the commercial,organisational, and operational benefits.”