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March 14, 2013

Capgemini Study: Outside-in Data View is Key

Isaac Lopez

Organizations using big data analytics are seeing an average of 26% improvement in performance, says Capgemini citing a recent study they commissioned. 

The study, which was commissioned by the organization’s Economist Intelligence Unit, concludes that organizational silos and a dearth of data specialists are the main obstacles to putting big data to work effectively for decision-making.

“Data silos are a perennial problem,” states the report,” and one which the business process reengineering revolution of the 1990s failed to resolve.”  Help may be on the way, however, says Capgemini, explaining that data regulation and the emergence of ‘trusted data aggregators’ may help to break down today’s application silos.

The study pointedly says that while tech firms are working with universities to improve the talent pool, they foresee a “war for talent” on the horizon as firms try to outbid each other for the top analysts in the field.

That talent is much needed implies the report, as the figures show much room for improvement.  While the study cites the noted 26% in average performance improvement, the organizations are expecting a full 41% improvement over the next three years.  A tall task considering that 42% of respondents say their organizations are struggling to make sense of unstructured data.

“A possible reason for this is that today’s business intelligence tools are good at aggregating and analyzing structured data whilst tools for unstructured data are predominantly providing access to individual documents (eg search and content management),” explains the report. “It may be a while before more advanced unstructured data tools, such as text analytics and sentiment analysis, which can aggregate and summarize unstructured content become mass market. This may be why 40% of respondents say they have too much unstructured data to support decision-making, as opposed to just 7% who feel they have too much unstructured data.”

Big data for decision automation registered at nearly 30% among the polls respondents, says Capgemini, noting that the deciding factor on whether to use automated decision-making predictably hinges on the level of risk involved. However, the need for increasing sophistication in this area is getting careful consideration as expectations from customers and regulators increase. 

“If you do not have the right level of automation in place, that means your costs have increased,” says Michael Knorr, head of integration and data services at Citi, cited in the report. “If there is more data and you haven’t kept up with automating, then the number of items you need to review manually will have increased, which means you need more resources and people to do so.”

Capgemini concludes that big data combined with an “outside-in” view will provide the largest benefits for organizations. “Organizations are accustomed to analyzing internal data – sales, shipments, and inventory. Now they are increasingly analyzing external data too, gaining new insights into customers, markets, supply chains and operations,” explains the report. “We believe it is big data and the outside-in view that will generate the biggest opportunities for differentiation over the next five to ten years.”


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