Big Data on the rise in businesses

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SAS shouts

Businesses are waking up to the importance of big data, according to SAS.

The company has cited a range of reports which it claims shows the industry is growing, and that one in five large UK businesses are assigning financial value to their data on the company balance sheet.

According to the business analytics software and services firm, 44 percent of the CFOs it surveyed said a good use of data can drive growth for the businesses. It said this figure rose among CFOs at large organisations to 57 percent. Furthermore, this number rose even further to 70 percent with those who have quantified the value of their corporate data, which, according to SAS, indicates that those companies who truly understand the value of their big data have the most confidence in the benefits it can deliver.

SAS also cited a recent study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), which suggested that better use of big data could add £216 billion to the UK economy between 2012 and 2017. It said this worked out to around 22 percent of the UK net debt, or more than the 2011/12 defence, NHS and education budgets combined.

As the volume, velocity and variety of data captured by organisations continues to grow, so do the opportunities to use big data analytics – specifically high-performance analytics (HPA) – to drive business innovation, creation and efficiency.

SAS quoted  a study by the Harvard Business Review which found that 73 percent  of UK business leaders have seen benefits from the use of analytics. This including improved financial performance – 69 percent, and 65 percent cost reduction. The research also found that big data was found to reduce risks in 64 percent of cases and improve faster decision-making in 55 percent of organisations.

However, while this is promising, 40 percent of UK business leaders say analytics are underused in their organisation, or remain siloed.

The slow pace of attitude change to data is picked out by a recent Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) study for SAS, Big Data II: Lessons from the Leaders, which identifies the barriers still facing UK organisations. The company said “shockingly”, just 16 percent of UK businesses had a well-defined data management strategy in place, further compounded by the fact that in 65 percent data management strategies still sit with IT rather than being seen as a business issue. In addition, demand for big data skills will outstrip supply, with 47 percent of respondents to the EIU study citing a lack of analytical skills as the biggest barrier they face.

To help improve the market, SAS said that it was “crucial” that organisations were using analytics to unlock its value, with 70 percents of respondents to the EIU survey stating that real-time insight from data is important to the business. By adopting high-performance analytics, the time it takes to derive insight from data can be reduced from days to hours and from minutes to seconds.

Mark Wilkinson, UK managing director, SAS UK & Ireland, said: “The fact that organisations recognise the value of data more than they did five years ago illustrates a change in the boardroom; that big data is the new ‘corporate gold’.

“Organisations that demonstrate their understanding of what we call ‘data equity’ by giving it value on the company balance sheet are already seeing dividends in terms of company performance and strategic decision making. It’s time that business leaders embrace high-performance analytics more widely to unleash the true value of data and drive business innovation, creation and efficiency,” Wilkinson said.

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