In its second annual Big Data Insights and Opportunities study, CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the IT industry, found that 78 percent of organizations feel more positive about big data as a business initiative than they did last year and 42 percent said they were engaged in some sort of big data initiative already.
"Year over year, we confirmed that there is more awareness and familiarity with big data," says Tim Herbert, vice president of research and market intelligence at CompTIA and author of the study. "It has helped to drive more comfort with data initiatives among companies."
The study was conducted in two parts. In June 2013, CompTIA conducted an online survey of 500 U.S. business and IT executives responsible for technical or strategic decisions affecting data at their company. Then in April 2013, CompTIA surveyed 500 executives at U.S. IT firms that have some level of involvement with the IT channel.
Harnessing Data Will Make Companies Stronger
CompTIA's findings suggest that the increasing awareness and familiarity with big data is being driven by the executive suite: It found that eight in 10 executives agree with this sentiment: "If we could harness all our data, we'd be a much stronger company." And 75 percent agree that data is among their firm's greatest assets.
"Data has always been important in the business world, but the big data trend has elevated its importance, pushing companies to be smarter in how they manage and use data," Herbert says.
The drive seems to be paying dividends: 57 percent of survey respondents report that they are either very close or exactly where they want to be in data management and utilization, up from 37 percent a year ago. However, Herbert notes that leap forward may owe a great deal to increased awareness rather than rapidly improved data management and utilization.
To back up that interpretation, Herbert points to another finding: in the 2012 survey, only 16 percent of respondents felt their organizations harbored a high degree of data silos. In the 2013 survey, that number leapt to 29 percent.
"Companies are taking a harder look at where they are with data and whether they are positioned to undertake true data initiatives," Herbert says. "I don't think that in 12 months' time there's been an explosion of data silos."
And while a large number of companies feel they're very close to where they need to be with managing and using data, many also acknowledge that they need to do better in areas. Seventy-four percent of firms feel they need much better real-time analysis of incoming data; 74 percent still feel that converting volumes of data into actionable intelligence is a challenge; and 53 percent feel they have more data than they know what to do with.
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