The Deadly Cost of Ignoring Big Data: $71.2 Million per Year
By BobEvans on Jul 19, 2012
If your company’s reluctant to tackle the Big Data challenge because you think it’ll be too expensive or disruptive, you might want to consider the alternative: companies without aggressive plans for managing and exploiting the explosion in data report they are losing an average of $71.2 million per year.
That’s not a cumulative total; rather, that’s $71.2 million from each company. Every year.
If that annual revenue loss makes your stomach feel like you just drank a molten-lead soda, I’ve got some good news and some bad news to share from a new Oracle study of 333 C-level executives across 11 industries.
First, some of the bad news:
- Asked to grade themselves on their ability to cope with and take advantage of the data deluge within their industry, 40% of respondents in healthcare gave themselves a D or F; in utilities, 39%; airlines, 31%; retail, 30%; and financial services, 25%.
- While that current snapshot is certainly troubling, the situation is only going to get more demanding and more urgent. And it will do so very quickly: almost all of the companies surveyed expect the huge increases in data volume to continue following a surge in data volume over the past two years of 86%.
Second, some of the good news:
- Customers believe a new generation of tools can give them the horsepower and intelligence to turn their current Big Data deficiencies into Big data opportunities: new sources of revenue, new ways of engaging with customers, new insights into opportunities as well as dead ends.
- Want to silence that giant $71.2-million-a-year sucking sound once and for all? A well thought-out Big Data strategy could offer immediate relief.
Called “From Overload to Impact: An Industry Scorecard on Big Data Business Challenges,” the Oracle study describes the sclerotic effect that outdated systems and processes are having on businesses that simply can’t survive unless they can move at the speed of their customers:
Managers don’t have or can’t get to the timely info they need: Respondents note they are frustrated with their organizations’ data gathering and distribution systems,” the study says. “Specifically, 38 percent note they do not have the right systems in place to gather the information they need, 36 percent cannot give their business managers access to pertinent information and 29 percent feel they are using systems that are not designed to meet the unique needs of their industry.”
The results are, to put it bluntly, rather ugly: of the 333 executives surveyed, 29% graded themselves with a D or F; 31% gave themselves a C grade; and only 8% said they deserve an A.
Perhaps the starkness of their current situation made it a bit easier for those executives to assess their priorities for fixing these lethal shortcomings. Here are their top recommendations for fixing themselves:
- 43% said they need to improve their ability to not only capture and manage information, but to analyze it effectively and then act decisively on those insights;
- 38% said they need to upgrade their systems and software to be able to collect more-accurate information so that the consequent decisive actions are based on premises that are real;
- and 38% also said they need to educate and train more of their people on the value of extracting actionable insights from the ever-increasing flood of information pouring into the company.
Within its analysis of the study’s findings, Oracle offered a 4-point plan for companies ready to turn Big Data from a revenue-hemorrhaging liability into a revenue-enhancing asset:
- Take Time to Strategize: Work with key stakeholders and business units to understand their data needs. Incorporate their feedback to improve processes across the business
- Think Analytically: Improve your analytical support team and ensure managers have the applications and access they need to examine business-critical information first hand
- Ask for What You Need: Leverage industry-specific applications and software where available. If your needs are not being met, alert your management team and/or industry suppliers
- Invest to Improve: Arm your organization with the appropriate technology, staff, and systems/processes needed to optimize information for true business intelligence
While each of those recommendations is essential, I was particularly intrigued by #2 and #4, which hint at the implications for new types of skills, new workflows, and probably new organizational structures. Because while slaying the Big Data dragon—or, more appropriately, domesticating the Big Data dragon—is certainly a technology challenge, it’s equally far-reaching in its impact on how the organization will function once all employees have access to information that’s more insightful, more accurate, more timely, and relevant.
Ultimately, that type of change-management initiative will put more of that deep-insight firepower into the hands of everyone from front-line salespeople to marketing teams to distribution managers and procurement specialists and product designers and financial teams.
And the inevitable outcome will be organizations that are more aware, more capable, and more focused on customers and opportunities rather than on guesswork and ill-advised conjecture.
Bob Evans is senior vice-president of communications for Oracle, and can be reached at bob.evans-AT-oracle.com.