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May 21, 2015

Warning: ‘Big Data Paralysis’ Ahead

George Leopold

As the Internet of Things and other platforms generate ever-expanding volumes of data, a new survey finds that 73 percent of respondents are facing “big data paralysis.”

The global survey by the U.S. branch of the Germany’s Software AG based in Reston, Va., included 750 respondents at organizations with more than $500 million in annual revenue. While a whopping 97 percent complained they are overwhelmed by the nonstop torrent of data, the survey paradoxically found “an incessant need for more datasets without the ability to use what’s already available.”

Just one in five respondents said they were satisfied with the reliability, accuracy and completeness of their data. Meanwhile, more than half said they are unable to act on data while 61 percent said they were unable to mine data and 68 percent acknowledged they could not use real-time data.

Just under three-quarters of respondents said greater visibility over internal processes could lead to operational improvements. Leveraging that capability has proven to be a challenge, however, with 87 percent of respondents citing the importance of making quick operational decisions. Still, roughly the same percentage said they are still experiencing issues in doing so because they are unable to use their data quickly enough.

Hurdles to making quick operational decisions include: missed revenue opportunities (41 percent), poor decision-making (37 percent) and the inability to predict future patterns (27 percent).

Further, only one quarter of those surveyed believe that their IT department is supporting their need for real-time analysis of data.

Predictably, the looming “big data paralysis” has also fueled investment in data analytics tools. Between July 2013 and July 2014, Software AG found that organizations surveyed increased their investment in data collection and analysis by a hefty 21 percent. By 2016, the company projects that data investments will continue to increase at a 23-percent annual clip.

“In order to stay ahead of the competition, organizations have no choice but to continually identify ways to make smarter decisions and provide better services,” John Bates, chief marketing officer and head of Industry Solutions at Software AG, noted in a statement releasing the survey results. “Properly collecting, analyzing and making decisions based on real-time data is key to proactively preventing issues and improving procedures. However, without the right solutions, this is virtually impossible.”

Frankfurt-based Software AG sells big data, integration and business process technologies. It recently launched a digital business platform based on an in-memory, “event driven” architecture. The platform is designed to manage IT assets while automating cloud integration and advanced analytics, the company said.

Technology market researcher Vanson Bourne conducted the big data survey of 750 global executives between June and July 2014. Respondents were located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, U.K. and the U.S.

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