Mid-market companies are aggressively adopting Big Data projects which are helping them achieve improved product quality and decision making once reserved for large enterprises.
That's according to the the latest research research from Dell which has found that 41 per cent of respondents have one or more big data projects already in place, with another 55 percent planning to start one in the foreseeable future.
Further results show that more mid-market firms plan to use big data analysis to grow their businesses, rather than just find ways to cut costs.
Dell Software commissioned Competitive Edge Research Reports to conduct a global survey of mid-market executives.
Focused exclusively on mid-market organisations, the survey indicates that Big Data projects have made a significant shift from their enterprise roots, and have become a critical decision-making factor for mid-market companies across the globe.
Dell Software executive director, product management, information management, Darin Bartik, said the survey showed why Big Data was a relative term.
"Being an enterprise organisation with large, complex data sets is not a pre-requisite to benefitting from a data-driven mindset," he said.
"When organisations of any size focus on improving the quality of their business processes by becoming more analytical and data-driven, the potential benefits are limitless."
Bartik said the early success mid-market companies were seeing with their big data initiatives would encourage more growth and investment, and additional returns on that investment will be achieved as they dive further into different datasets and embrace ever-improving analytic capabilities."
The report found 80 per cent of survey respondents agreed that they needed to better analyse their rapidly expanding data collections.
Their top goals were to improve product quality, seize business opportunities and speed decision-making.
It also found 89 percent of respondents with a big data initiative in progress reported significant improvements in company decision making.
Encouraged by early success, respondents expect Big Data budgets to rise from between $2 million and $5 million up to an average of $6 million in the next two years as companies invest more in hardware, software and training.
The report said the biggest drivers of Big Data project success was IT/business collaboration, proper skills, and performance management to gauge the effects of big data initiatives.
It also found the most valuable technologies for mid-market companies running big data initiatives to be real-time data processing, predictive analytics and data visualisation tools.
According to the survey, organisations with Big Data projects in flight report far greater levels of satisfaction with productivity and decision making than those still in the planning phase.
It found 50 per cent of organisations with a Big Data initiative in flight were satisfied with the quality and speed of their decision making, compared to just 23 per cent among those yet to kick off a big data project.
Further, 47 per cent of organisations in production with a Big Data initiative were satisfied with their ability to identify and take advantage of new business opportunities, compared to 24 per cent of those organisations whose initial Big Data project is still in development.
Collaboration between IT and business units was the most often cited prerequisite of mid-market project success, with 41 per cent of respondents indicating that strong cooperation between the two groups is needed in order for an initiative to succeed.
Other commonly cited success factors include a strong connection between data analytics and performance management in the organisation, cited by 37 per cent of respondents.
The availability of required skills – such as those possessed by data scientists – within the organisation, cited by 33 per cent of respondents.
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The report said managing data complexity remained the most significant obstacle mid-market companies faced as they looked to fully embrace the potential benefits of a data-driven approach.
According to the survey, 40 per cent of organisations consider the need to manage a wide variety of new data types and structures to be a significant challenge, while 24 per cent are similarly challenged by what they perceive to be a lack of easy-to-use, cost-effective data cleansing tools.
In addition, most mid-market organisations still have not yet incorporated social media and other Big Data sources into their analytics mix, meaning a potentially significant source of analytic insight remains largely untapped.
"While the cost and complexity of the required technology have kept some areas of opportunity as yet unexplored, technology keeps improving and budgets for big data-related projects are on the rise," the report said.
"The Dell survey results show there is no reason mid-market organisations can’t benefit from better analysis of their data, and more importantly, they now know it.