Haven’t Conquered Big Data? Blame Your Colleagues

Haven’t Conquered Big Data? Blame Your Colleagues

Everyone wants to exploit the potential of big data, but few businesses are managing it effectively. One major problem? Even within a single organisation, departments can’t co-operate on the basic level require to make data available for analysis.

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That issue is underscored in a recent Economist Intelligent Unit paper on the uptake of big data in the Asia-Pacific. The paper, sponsored by Hitachi Data Systems (HDS), interviewed 500 executives in the region, including 166 in Australia.

While there’s a widespread belief that big data can be beneficial, more than half the firms surveyed had made no effective progress. A range of factors are behind that failure, but a common theme in many of them is that businesses can’t muster sufficient internal co-operation.

Amongst the ANZ respondents, this is the percentage who named each of eight major factors as hindering their big data projects:

Reason Percentage
Lack of communication between departments 31
Lack of willingness to share 30
Lack of suitable software 40
Overly complicated reports 31
Lack of in-house skills 43
No buy-in from management 19
Departmental divisions 18
Lack of analysis yielding usable insights 30

The lack of skills is a familiar theme in the world of big data. Outside that, however, there’s an underlying theme here of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing.

[related title=”Think Big” tag=”bdtop10″ items=”1″] “Most organisations have a cultural problem,” said Neville Vincent, HDS SVP and GM APAC, at a media function to launch the report. “Information is still highly siloed, and people can’t do collaboration correctly.”

Another key problem is that businesses often make demands for big data insights without understanding the data sources they can draw on, Vincent said. “The business is still telling the IT department what they want them to deliver. If data is your most fundamental capital asset, you have to get your IT department involved much earlier.”