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Global Big Data Analytics Challenges and Opportunities

Establishing goals for a new digital transformation project is often the easier part of the process. In contrast, moving the people within an organization to act on the execution is more likely to be the difficult part of the change management process. Big data and analytics adoption is a case in point.

A worldwide survey of organizations by Gartner showed that 91 percent of organizations have not yet reached a transformational level of maturity in enterprise data and analytics -- despite this area being a number one investment priority for CIOs and CTOs in recent years.

Data and Analytics Market Development

"Most organizations should be doing better with data and analytics, given the potential benefits," said Nick Heudecker, research vice president at Gartner. "Organizations at transformational levels of maturity enjoy increased agility, better integration with partners and suppliers, and easier use of advanced predictive and prescriptive forms of analytics. This all translates to competitive advantage and differentiation."

The global survey asked respondents to rate their organizations according to Gartner's five levels of maturity for data and analytics. Gartner analysts found that 60 percent of their survey respondents worldwide rated themselves in the lowest three levels.

The survey revealed that 48 percent of organizations in Asia Pacific (APAC) reported their data and analytics maturity to be in the top two levels. This compares to 44 percent in North America, and just 30 percent in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA).

The majority of respondents worldwide assessed themselves at level three (34 percent) or level four (31 percent). Twenty-one percent of respondents were at level two, and 5 percent at the basic level, level one.

But here's the most puzzling finding, only 9 percent of organizations surveyed reported themselves at the highest level, where the biggest transformational benefits are likely to occur for the enterprise.

According to the Gartner assessment, acquiring new technology isn't always essential to reach transformational levels of maturity in data and analytics. First, CTOs and CIOs must focus on improving how people and processes are coordinated inside their organization.

Improving process efficiency was by far the most common business problem that organizations sought to address with data and analytics, with 54 percent of respondents worldwide marking it in their top three problems.

Enhancing customer experience and development of new products were the joint second most common uses, with 31 percent of respondents listing each issue.

The survey also revealed that, despite a lot of attention around advanced forms of analytics, 64 percent of organizations still consider enterprise reporting and dashboards their most business-critical applications for data and analytics.

In the same manner, traditional data sources such as transactional data and logs also continue to dominate, although 46 percent of organizations now report using external data.

Barriers to Progress with Big Data Analytics

Organizations that participated in the survey reported a broad range of barriers that prevent them from increasing their use of data and analytics technologies. That said, organizations tend to experience a different set of issues depending on their geography and current level of maturity.

However, the survey identified the three most common barriers as: defining data and analytics strategy; determining how to get value from projects; and solving risk and governance issues.

In terms of infrastructure, on-premises deployments still dominate globally, ranging from 43 to 51 percent of deployments depending on use case. Pure public cloud deployments range from 21 to 25 percent of deployments, while hybrid environments make up between 26 and 32 percent.

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