Big Data won Italian executives

96% of executives from companies that are applying this technology to their businesses said they are satisfied with the results, 46% achieved concrete outcomes. A survey conducted by Accenture compares objectives and expectations of Italian and International executives and draws the guidelines to successful projects.

SOURCE: ICT4EXECUTIVE.IT by Piero Todorovich 03 November 2014

Big Data won Italian executives. According to the survey “Big success with Big Data” Conducted by Accenture, 96% of executives from companies that are applying this technology to their businesses said they are satisfied with the results, 46% achieved concrete outcomes.

The study, based on a survey of 4.300 executives in 19 Countries, among which Italy, reveals objectives, benefits, but also obstacles to the efficient and strategic employ of Big Data for a company. The survey also underlines some local differences. Italian managers’ satisfaction results higher than in the average, but there are also some problems. While for 82 percent of international executives big data provides a significant source of value for their companies, only 72 percent of Italian managers share the same opinion. Only 82% of Italian C-level see Big Data as something “very important” or “extremely important” to the digital transformation of their business, while globally the average is 89%.

Among benefits that Big Data drive the research reveals increasing in turnovers, enhancing the customer experience and greater efficiency in operating procedures. For example a telecommunication provider employs Big Data in order to localize anonymous customers via Wi-Fi and give the shops the possibility to send real-time messages to potential customers, or for example, a utilities English company which employs technology in order to process data coming from detectors inserted in water pipes, anticipating damages and quickly replying to emergencies caused by rainfalls.

Big Data are essential to process big amount of data generated by sensors, thus, to exploit new internet of things development permitting to receive crucial information for business and to get competitive advantages.

Projects and objectives

More than 60 percent of executives said their companies have successfully completed a big data implementation, while 36 percent haven’t pursued a big data project yet and are currently not pursuing such a project. Four percent were currently pursuing but hadn’t finished their first big data project.

According to the executives interviewed companies use big data to: identify new sources of revenue (94 percent), retain and acquire customers (90 percent), and develop new products and services (89 percent).

Executives noted extensive tangible business outcomes from big data in finding new sources of revenue (46% in Italy and 56% globally), new product and service development (38% in Italy while 50% globally), winning and keeping customers (45% in Italy while 47% globally), and enhancing the customer experience (56% in Italy while 51% globally).

Therefore, on the one hand Italian executive are exploiting Big Data very well in order to optimize customer relationship, on the other hand they’re still a long way from reaching the same profitability of their foreign colleagues. Italian C-level managers imagine that within 5 years big data will enhance customer relation (58%) develop new products and services (48%) and help to obtain greater efficiency in operating procedures (56%).

Challenges in different situations

Executives interviewed indicated some challenges to big data implementation. The main challenges security (51% globally and 52% in Italy) and budget (47% globally and 48% in Italy). International managers said there is a lack of talent to implement big data (41%) while this challenge is relevant only for 20% of Italian executives.

Only 24% of Italian managers see lack of talent to run big data and analytics on an ongoing basis as one of the main challenges (global average is 37%) and only 28% indicates integration with existing systems (global average is 35%).

Other differences are between big and small enterprises. 67% of big companies’ executives see Big Data extremely important while only 43% of executives of small companies gave the same evaluation.

Only managers from big companies have a wide vision of possible sources of big data, including social network (54% while in small and medium enterprises the average is 29%) data visualization ( 54% vs 29%) and unstructured data (49% vs 36%). Between big enterprises and SMe there is a difference also in the direct participation of C-level managers in big data projects (62% vs 42%).

Recommendations for Big Data Success

For companies and executives to get the most from their big data projects and help ease big data challenges, the research report outlines key recommendations for organizations including:

• Explore the entire big data ecosystem and be nimble. Data sources and big data technologies are in a constant state of flux. Companies need to learn to stay alert and be nimble to seize new opportunities
• Start small then grow. Companies should focus resources around proving value from big data in one business area first via a pilot program or proof of concept.
• Focus on building skills. With talent listed as one of the biggest big data challenges, organizations need to build the big data skills of existing employees through training and development. Fifty-four percent of executives said their companies have already developed internal technical training opportunities for their employees. Furthermore a mere five percent of respondents said their company used only internal resources for their big data implementations.

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