Big data is nothing new. The majority of companies now collect a wealth of information about their customers and processes, leveraging the insights to streamline operations, drive marketing, and ultimately increase profits.
The opportunities made available by Big Data are truly astounding. However, many companies are still not seeing a return on their investment in data. In a survey of senior business leaders at 1800 large companies in North America and Europe, only 4% were classified as being ‘data elites’ and successfully using data to improve business performance. More than a quarter reported seeing ‘no or little benefit’ from their data initiatives. Similarly, in a survey by business transformation consultancy Moorhouse, of the FTSE250, just 11% of such organizations said they believe they are effectively leveraging big data to inform their strategic decisions. There are a number of reasons for this, all of them easily fixable.
It is natural that an executive with more than 20 years experience will believe they know best, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Consequently, they will ignore the wealth of data they have at their disposal. Fortune Knowledge Group found that 62% of business leaders still say they tend to trust their gut, while 61% believe that real-world experience is more important than analytics for decision making. While understandable, from a business sense it is exceptionally reckless. All decisions should be supported by strong evidence, not by opinions and intuition. The first question should always be ‘where is the evidence?’, if not, you are writing cheques your business can’t cash.
In a similar vein to problem one, if the C-suite isn’t truly on board with a data project, it will go nowhere.