SOURCE: Avanade


November 09, 2010 09:00 ET

Global Survey Reveals Companies Are Addicted to "Big Data"; Executives Report Feeling Overwhelmed by Flood of Business Data but Still Seek More, Faster

Data Deluge Driving Canadian IT Investments in Customer Relationship Management Software and Security Systems

TORONTO--(Marketwire - November 9, 2010) -  Avanade®, a business technology services provider, today announced the results of its global survey, "The Business Impact of Big Data," which examines executive attitudes about how enterprises are managing the exponential growth of data.

The survey, conducted by Kelton Research, reveals that big data is creating very real business challenges for executives. In fact, more than half -- 56 per cent -- of C-level executives, IT decision makers and business unit leaders report they are overwhelmed by the amount of data their company manages. This number increases to 65 per cent from Canadian respondents. Many also report they are often delayed in making important decisions as a result of too much information. Forty-six per cent report they have made an inaccurate business decision as a result of bad or outdated data, and more than half of Canadian respondents agreed.

"There is a pressing need for companies to evaluate how data is affecting their business as suppliers, customers, and employees all contribute to the vast amounts of information which is creating real business challenges," said Dean Olmstead, senior vice president, Canada Operating Unit at Avanade. "Companies need to establish a data management process through the entire data lifecycle and turn data from information into actionable business insights."

Data Addiction
Despite the challenges created by the proliferation of data, executives report they desire more data and they want it faster. One in three executives believe access to even more sources of data would enable them to do their job better, while 61 per cent of the total respondents and 81 per cent of Canadian respondents say they still want faster access to data. According to the survey, this desire for more data and need for speed is driven by the ability to keep up with customer service expectations.

"Our research confirms what we hear from our customers related to managing the data challenge. Executives appear to be grasping for faster access to data to help them cope with information overload. While speed is important, context is absolutely essential in order to understand the full scope of the data to make the right business decisions at the right time," said Tyson Hartman, global chief technology officer at Avanade.

Executives do recognize there is value in the data, from improved business forecasts to reduced uncertainty in decision-making and improved competitive positioning. Sixty-one per cent of companies believe the flood of data entering the enterprise fundamentally changes the way their businesses operate. This number increases to 70 per cent from Canadian respondents.

CRM and Security
When it comes to the most important kinds of data, companies report that customer relationship and sales information are critical to their strategic decision-making process. They recognize the opportunity to grow their top line revenue by harnessing customer information, and this focus is driving additional technology investments in customer relationship management (CRM) systems. Sixty-seven per cent of executives have invested or are seriously considering investing in CRM in the next 12 months. In Canada, 76 per cent of respondents are looking to CRM solutions to help increase revenue.

With growing data, there is also a growing requirement for data security. Seventy-eight per cent of companies report that they are investing in security solutions or will do so in the next 12 months. This number increases to 86 per cent in Canada. In the public sector, pressures are even greater with 74 per cent of government organizations investing in CRM and 85 per cent investing in security.

Struggle to Derive Business Value
The survey also reveals a big data disconnect. Despite the increasing volume of data, pressure to keep up with customer expectations and focus on technology investments, today's companies are still struggling to see big data as a driver of real business value. On the one hand, executives surveyed say there is value in the data. On the other hand, less than half of respondents -- 46 per cent -- view the available sources of data as a strategic differentiator for their organization. Rather, the majority -- 54 per cent -- consider data as a consequence of doing business.

"It's clear many companies see huge potential benefits if they can learn to leverage big data effectively, but they lack the basic measures to manage it," said Hartman. "Tomorrow's successful companies will take a creative, holistic approach to data management that integrates people, processes and technology to manage the big data phenomenon."

The "Business Impact of Big Data" survey was conducted by Kelton Research, an independent research firm, in August 2010, and surveyed 543 C-level executives, IT decision makers and business unit leaders at top companies located in 17 countries across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific.

For additional information or to download a copy of the executive summary, please visit

About Avanade
Avanade provides business technology services that connect insight, innovation and expertise in Microsoft® technologies to help customers realize results. Avanade's services and solutions help improve performance, productivity and sales for organizations in all industries. The company applies Microsoft expertise from its global network of consultants, drawing on the right mix of onshore, offshore and near-shore skills, which together are designed to help deliver results faster, at lower cost and with less risk. Avanade, which is majority owned by Accenture, was founded in 2000 by Accenture and Microsoft Corporation and has more than 11,000 dedicated resources in more than 24 countries. Additional information can be found at

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