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Wayne Eckerson

Welcome to Wayne's World, my blog that illuminates the latest thinking about how to deliver insights from business data and celebrates out-of-the-box thinkers and doers in the business intelligence (BI), performance management and data warehousing (DW) fields. Tune in here if you want to keep abreast of the latest trends, techniques, and technologies in this dynamic industry.

About the author >

Wayne has been a thought leader in the business intelligence field since the early 1990s. He has conducted numerous research studies and is a noted speaker, blogger, and consultant. He is the author of two widely read books: Performance Dashboards: Measuring, Monitoring, and Managing Your Business (2005, 2010) and The Secrets of Analytical Leaders: Insights from Information Insiders (2012).

Wayne is currently director of BI Leadership Research, an education and research service run by TechTarget that provides objective, vendor neutral content to business intelligence (BI) professionals worldwide. Wayne’s consulting company, BI Leader Consulting, provides strategic planning, architectural reviews, internal workshops, and long-term mentoring to both user and vendor organizations. For many years, Wayne served as director of education and research at The Data Warehousing Institute (TDWI) where he oversaw the company’s content and training programs and chaired its BI Executive Summit. He can be reached by email at weckerson@techtarget.com.

After several years of listening to the hype about big data, top business and technology executives are now drinking the Kool-Aid, according to a new survey by NewVantage Partners, a Boston-based consultancy that advises business and technology executives how to reap value from data and analytical technology.

Almost two-thirds (60%) of business and technology executives have a big data initiative underway, with one-third (32%) of the initiatives in production and operational. Two-thirds plan to invest at least $1 million in these initiatives, while 19% are investing more than $10 million.

The results are based on responses from nearly 90 business and technology executives, 75% of whom work in financial services and 20% in healthcare and life sciences. Almost half (49%) are either C-suite executives or line-of-business heads, while the remaining 51% head enterprise data or technology programs.

The survey casts a broad net in defining big data:

Big Data is a term used to describe collections of data so large, complex, or requiring such rapid processing (sometimes called the volume/variety/velocity problem), that they become difficult or impossible to work with using standard database management or analytical solutions. For the purpose of this survey, Big Data refers to new database management and analytical approaches developed for analyzing, storing, and manipulating large or complex data. Investments in Big Data include those in human resources (e.g., data scientists), and in business and technology solutions, including database management platforms (e.g., Hadoop, EMC/Greenplum, Teradata/Aster, IBM/Netezza), analytics and visualization capabilities (e.g., Revolution R, Palintir, Tableau), or text-processing and real-time streaming solutions.

Since some of these technologies have existed for more than a decade, it's actually surprising that the adoption and investment rates aren't higher. But using technology to exploit data has never been easy even though the potential payoff is huge. Early data warehousing and business intelligence initiatives have delivered mixed results in many organizations. So, the good news is that executive decision makers seem ready to reinvest in the latest generation of "big data" technology.

Interestingly, sales and marketing departments are leading the big data charge, according to the research. They are followed closely by risk, product, research, IT, and customer departments, all of which cited by more than 62% of respondents as "driving the investment in big data."

Although functional areas are funding big data initiatives, chief information officers are the primary sponsors, according to 42% of people who responded to the survey. Other big data sponsors include: chief operations officer (10%), chief risk officer (6%), chief executive officer (6%), chief data officer (5%), chief marketing officer (5%), and chief financial officer (5%).

These sponsors recognize the importance of getting involved and guiding these initiatives. Strong leadership is required to keep the focus of big data initiatives on business goals rather than shiny new technologies. The two biggest factors cited by respondents to ensure adoption of big data initiatives are: "executive sponsorship" cited by 83% of respondents and "clear definition of business questions and business objectives" (82%).

Interestingly, more than a quarter of respondents (26%) already have a chief data officer and another 21% are considering establishing the role. This is more evidence that top executives are getting serious about treating data as a bonafide corporate asset .

For more information, go to http://newvantage.com.


Posted September 6, 2013 3:58 AM
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