Survey suggests only 7% of European companies rate Big Data as ‘very relevant’ to their business

Steria’s Business Intelligence Maturity Audit (biMA®) survey examines the readiness of European businesses in embracing Big Data. This year’s report found that only 7% of European companies grade Big Data as very relevant. Key characteristics of Big Data, such as velocity, volume and variety, are ranked far behind challenges arising from insufficient data quality. Data quality is the Achilles’ heel of BI and 38% of companies have a data problem.

Steria has announced the findings of its fourth Business Intelligence Maturity Audit (biMA®) survey, which found that only 7% of European companies grade Big Data as very relevant to their business.

The biMA® survey has been developed by Steria over the past 10 years. This year’s survey, carried out in 20 countries across Europe, found that while progress has been made in improving BI use, strategies are beginning to stagnate. As a result, many businesses are unfortunately missing out on harnessing Big Data as a strategic asset for business development. A number of technical and organisational challenges have been revealed as contributing to businesses’ inability to reap the benefits of Big Data: 

  • 72% of companies do not have a Business Intelligence (BI) strategy and 70% of survey participants state that their company has not established BI governance
  • Data quality is the Achilles’ heel of BI and continues to be neglected, despite being the foundation of all BI analysis. 38% of companies have a data problem
  • Factors such as a lack of data governance, insufficient standardisation of internal processes and no master data management system (as is the case in 38% of businesses) also play a key role in poor data quality and the inability to share and integrate data across the business
  • The Big Data age is yet to arrive – volume, variety and velocity are not yet viewed as big challenges. Scaling options relating to rapidly growing data volumes only represent a serious problem for 8% of com­panies. A lack of support for polystructured data types is only a challenge for 4% of companies. (Near) real-time data as the basis for operational BI was also only stated very rarely as a problem (9%). Therefore only 7% of participants grade Big Data as very relevant
  • Key characteristics of Big Data are ranked far behind challenges arising from insufficient data quality  (Velocity ranked 13th, volume ranked 14th and variety ranked 15th in the list of challenges)
  • Business units and IT departments have differing mindsets towards Big Data. Employees in business areas have higher expectations of the trend than those working in IT. For example, there are clear differences in the assessment of the significance of Big Data for im­proved customer segmentation (business 30 % vs. IT 23 %). It appears that business users associate Big Data with comprehensive analysis options for web data and social networks in order to take a massive step towards a 360° understanding of the customer
  • The BI challenges hinder businesses’ ability to embed enterprise-wide BI strategies with clear ROI, suggesting the benefits of the technology are not clear to all decision-makers. It also raises the question of who should create and drive BI strategies within the business

In today’s tough economic climate, being able to handle Big Data will become crucial for an organisation’s competitiveness, innovation and growth. The survey acts as a barometer, demonstrating the reality and identifying the stumbling blocks that are preventing BI adoption and putting big data into a clear business context. 

Patricia Langrand, Executive Vice President, Group Business Development & Marketing at Steria commented: “This survey pulls back the curtain on the reality facing European businesses today when it comes to Big Data. As a trend affecting businesses of all size and sector, it will become a deciding factor in the success of businesses who want to grow, be productive and competitive. Failure to recognise its transformational benefits will see more companies fall by the wayside.

The findings of this survey can help businesses test and enhance their own BI strategies, by approaching Big Data tactically to overcome the challenges stalling success. This means focusing more on data quality, addressing the disconnect between business and IT departments by demonstrating clear use cases for Big Data, and gaining buy-in and understanding from all areas of the business. This will ultimately help to bridge the gap between the hype, expectations and reality of Big Data in today’s competitive business landscape.