92% of executives satisfied with big data applications

Big data is a big buzzword in retail and while the term can be ambiguous, 92 percent of executives say they're satisfied with the results of big data applications within their organizations.

Fully 92 percent of executives from companies that are applying big data said they are satisfied with the results, according to new research from Accenture. Eighty-nine percent of respondents rated big data as "very important" or "extremely important" to their businesses' digital transformation, and 82 percent agreed big data provides a significant source of value.

Accenture surveyed IT executives including CIOs, COOs chief data officers and chief analytics officers.

More than 60 percent of respondents said their companies have successfully completed a big data implementation, but 36 percent haven't even begun a single project yet.

"Businesses are at a transition point­­ where instead of just talking about the potential results that can be achieved from big data, they are realizing actual benefits including increasing revenues, a growing base of loyal customers and more efficient operations," said Narendra Mulani, senior managing director, Accenture Analytics. "They're recognizing that big data is one of the cornerstones of digital transformation."

While the survey didn't name retail as a segment of business, it did break down differences between large ($10 billion in annual revenue) and small companies (less than $500 million in annual revenue). Retail may be lagging other sectors: A recent report from Looker revealed that four in 10 retailers said they were ineffective at using customer data to improve performance.

Unsurprisingly, those in large companies rank results from big data projects as more important, have a greater understanding and pull data from more sources than smaller ones. And the technology departments of larger companies are getting more support from those in the C-suite than smaller organizations.

Big data is driving business benefits in several key areas including identifying new sources of revenue (94 percent), retaining and acquiring new customers (90 percent), and developing new products and services (89 percent).

Respondents also reported extensive tangible business outcomes from big data in finding new sources of revenue (56 percent), new product and service development (50 percent), winning and keeping customers (47 percent) and enhancing the customer experience (51 percent).

The biggest challenges in realizing results from big data are familiar to retail organizations: security (the greatest challenge cited by 51 percent); budget (47 percent); lack of talent to implement big data (41 percent) as well as to run big data and analytics on an ongoing basis (37 percent); and integration with existing systems (35 percent).

"We've seen organizations overcome big data implementation challenges by remaining flexible and recognizing that no single solution suits every situation," said Vince Dell'Anno, managing director and global information management lead, Accenture Analytics, part of Accenture Digital. "If a particular approach doesn't work, organizations quickly try another one, learning as they grow. They also start small and stay realistic in their expectations. Rather than attempting to do everything at once, they focus resources around proving value in one area, and then let the results cascade from there."

For more:
-See this Accenture report

Related stories:
4 in 10 retailers don't use data to improve business
Digital influences $1 trillion in retail sales
Apple, McDonald's, Amazon top supply chain rankings
40% of retailers say back-office technology hampering omnichannel efforts
Target seeks to realign security and IT, seeks CISO