Big data technology is moving beyond market hype and surpassing IT departments along the way, opening the door for channel partners to widen the net in Australia.
Despite the concept still instinctively linked to IT, recent research reports that the IT department is not the only function benefiting from big data insights, thereby emphasising the potential of data analytics for the wider business.
Crucially for the channel however, non-IT business leaders are still yet to fully understand its benefits and wider impact on organisation, creating a need for strategic consulting partners.
While the majority (54 per cent) of Australian CIOs believe that big data and data analytics have more of a direct impact on IT, findings from recruitment specialist firm, Robert Half, suggest that almost one in five (18 per cent) believe it has more influence across the operations department.
Expanding the opportunity for partners as a result, a further 16 per cent believe the technology is better served in finance, while seven per cent see its greatest value in marketing and sales.
Delving deeper, customer service (four per cent) and HR (one per cent) are named as the other two business departments that executives believe can be better served through big data insights.
While big data serves several purposes, data-driven/strategic decision-making (53 per cent), cost reduction (51 per cent) and getting a better overview of operational processes (41 per cent) are cited as the top three advantages by Australian CIOs.
“Big data offers big potential,” Robert Half Asia Pacific senior managing director, David Jones, said.
“In our increasingly data-driven world, using data to make informed, strategic decisions that benefit operations in all departments and impact a company’s bottom line is crucial for any company.
“With all companies increasingly taking on a customer-centric approach, big data as such can help identify new trends, and unlock the promise of innovative business opportunities.”
But according to Jones, using big data processes to its fullest advantage isn’t without its challenges, as is the case with emerging technologies.
“In order for companies to reap the benefits of big data, they are increasingly looking for technology professionals who are not only highly skilled in data analytics, but who are also equipped with the right amount of business and financial acumen, and who are able to clearly communicate the advantages and insights to the wider business and senior management,” he explained.
In addition to recruitment, the need for third party assistance is also heightening.
On the other side of the scale, 46 per cent of CIOs believe the primary challenge of big data lies in the cost of data capture, followed by 43 per cent who refer to data protection/security and 43 per cent who remain bound by the technical considerations of implementing big data processes.
Adding to these challenges, half (49 per cent) of CIOs are of the view that non-IT senior management team do not have enough knowledge about big data and the utilisation of data effectively within the organisation, thereby suggesting Australian businesses are still in the early stages of fully utilising big data processes.
Consequently, partners coming to the executive table armed with insights and strategic advice stand to win mindshare.
“Big data has changed everything about the way business is done, but its value is still being optimised and harnessing its fullest potential is still considered a challenge for many businesses,” Jones added.
“Collecting and analysing big data, and most importantly using those insights to further improve the business will be a vital investment for any organisation in order to secure a competitive advantage in their market.”
Looking ahead, Jones said businesses must take on enterprise-wide approach to leverage the full potential of what big data has to offer, with senior management playing a key role.
“A company’s board and leaders need to be fully engaged about the impact data can have on its business operations and overall success,” he added.
“Setting up new software and program systems can demand a significant financial investment, however, once implemented and fully applied, the advantages can be significant in terms of cost reduction.
“When considering the advantages and inevitable challenges of using any new technology, big data definitely presents more unique opportunities for all business departments and its advantages for companies outweigh any initial obstacles.”