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The Big Data Payoff: Turning Big Data into Business Value

Commissioned by Capgemini and Informatica, this report assesses the business value and benefits that enterprises are seeking and realizing from Big Data.

Big Data initiatives are launched with the goal of obtaining actionable insights from data that can boost business performance.

However, while enterprises are making progress, much work remains to be done to operationalize the results of these projects, according to this survey.

Most of the participants indicate their top priorities to involve the standardization, automation and governance of data.

From a business standpoint, IT projects are generally judged by strict return on investment criteria; and by that standard, enterprises report great progress.

Overall, 27% of those surveyed indicate their Big Data projects are already profitable, and 45% indicate they’re at a break-even stage.

However, when asked to rate progress in their ability to operationalize Big Data – another key measurement – the results are somewhat mixed.

Few have achieved all of their goals.

Just 26% say they’ve met three-quarters of their goals, while the majority, 36%, rate themselves as having achieved half or fewer of their goals.

“Like any other technology, Big Data initiatives will fail unless there is a clear business strategy,” said a German retail analytics executive during an in-depth interview conducted for this report.

“Once the business needs were identified, we were able to develop a solid roadmap. Our approach was a success, as we were able to provide a clear business case for the challenges we needed to address.”

As would be expected with any relatively new digital initiative, most of those surveyed suggest they’re in a state of flux, either moving to expand or accelerate their projects, modifying them to meet changing business needs, or simply trying to move beyond a proof of concept or the planning and strategy stage.

Just 16% say they’re moving ahead as intended to continue current projects with no expansion planned.

Relatively few have retrenched, though 12% have put their initiatives on hold and 2% are either radically restructuring them or starting anew. 

The comments of the head of analytics at a large US retailer illustrate how Big Data, for most, represents a goal, rather than an accomplishment.

“We are focused on bringing in more efficiency to our processes, but are aware that we will face a lot of difficulties and may have to increase effort and money to achieve it. In order to successfully implement Big Data, we make sure that we thoughtfully plan out the parameters that we need to focus on, so that we do not deviate from our track of delivering satisfactory products.”

Many continue to face barriers and challenges typical of any major enterprise technology initiative, such as budget constraints, data security concerns and integration issues.

Still, more than half of those surveyed indicate that Big Data has reached a degree of pervasiveness throughout their organizations, with more than half engaged on a regular, ongoing basis with either enterprise-wide projects or with some departments or groups.

Another third are engaged in limited or irregular projects, at either the enterprise level or with some departments or groups only.

Download this joint report from Capgemini and Informatica to learn how other industry practitioners are getting value from Big Data.

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