The age of Big Data is upon us, but executives are lagging behind in maximizing the value of the reams of information now at their disposal. With data collection and storage growing easier, the greater challenge will lie in parsing the data for meaningful insights. A March–April survey of North American C-suite executives by Oracle found that six in 10 respondents considered their organizations unprepared to handle all the data being collected, and more than nine in 10 thought a failure to capitalize on the benefits offered by data translated to lost revenues.
Almost half of respondents (48%) said the greatest increase in data volume and variety had come in the form of customer information. That was followed by operations (34%) and sales and marketing information (33%).
Almost all executives agreed that improvements to information gathering and analysis practices would be necessary over the next two years. The largest group of those polled, 43%, thought the most needed refinement lay in the ability to turn information into actionable insight. The next highest priority was a tie between heightening the accuracy of gathered information, and enhancing training in analyzing data. Getting good data and then being able to turn it into something of value is likely to be an effort requiring the ongoing dedication of attention and resources for marketers looking to benefit.
Retailer executives, too, expect their biggest Big Data challenge to be using the flood of information to improve the multi- and cross-channel experiences of customers. But they also saw significant challenges in a range of other areas, including supply chain and inventory optimization, and using customer data to tailor product offers and other campaigns.
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