Big data is more than just big hype and companies that are using the technology say they are getting some bang for their buck.

Ninety-two percent of executives from several industries including the insurance business said they are satisfied with the result of their big data project, according to the research by Accenture. The survey tapped the views of CIOs, COOs, CFOs, CMOs, and other senior technology leaders at companies that are applying big data to their businesses.

Eighty-nine percent of executives responding said big data was “very important” or
“extremely important” to their organizations’ digital transformation. In addition, 82 percent concurred that big data yielded a significant source of value for their businesses.

“Businesses are at a transition point where instead of just talking about the potential results that can be achieved from big data, they are realizing actual benefits, including increasing revenues, a growing base of loyal customers, and more efficient operations,” says Narendra Mulani, senior managing director at Accenture Analytics, a unit of Accenture Digital. “They’re recognizing that big data is one of the cornerstones of digital transformation.”

As examples of big data’s impact on business, the Accenture report cited a Japanese telecommunications firm that leveraged customer data from its wifi access points to target promising customers with mobile ads in realtime. In another instance, a British utilities company was able to take the realtime data acquired from sensors in water pipes to better anticipate equipment failure and respond faster to leaks and inclement weather events.

“While the Internet of Things is giving rise to massive sources and quantities of data, new big data technologies are emerging that help uncover crucial business insights from the data,” Mulani adds. “Companies not implementing big data solutions are missing an opportunity to turn their data into an asset that dfrives business and a competitive advantage.”

Some 60 percent of respondents reported that their businesses had successfully completed a big data implementation. Some 36 percent had yet to pursue a big data project, while another four percent were actively implementing a big data initiative.

The research report also points to key success factors for big data projects. Some recommendations are:

  • Explore the entire big data ecosystem and be nimble. Because the big data universe is fast evolving and the related data technologies are in a constant state of change, companies should be ready to change their approach to seize opportunities that may arise.
  • Start small and then grow. Instead of looking for an all-encompassing big data solution, companies should focus their resources on getting value out of applying big data to a single business area via a pilot project or proof of concept.
  • Concentrate on skill-building. The survey found that talent is one of the most salient big data challenges. Organizations need to develop their own in-house talent by nurturing the big data skills of existing employees through training and development. Some 54 percent of executives reported that their companies had developed internal technical training programs for employees. At the same time, most companies reported leveraging outside expertise.

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