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:
|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|
|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.
"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."