Yet while early returns may be encouraging, the study also reveals that much more work must be done to harness and make use of data.
"The amount of data crossing the wires and airwaves is mind-boggling," says Seth Robinson, senior director, technology analysis, CompTIA. "So while individual pieces of a holistic data solution may be improving, these individual pieces are not yet integrated in a way that drives ideal results."
Approximately three-quarters of organizations surveyed by CompTIA say that their business would be stronger if they could harness all of their data. Additionally, 75 percent of companies feel that they should be more aware of data privacy, while 73 percent feel they need better real-time analysis.Companies cite several factors for the increased importance of data:
- 63 percent rely on data for day-to-day operations.
- 61 percent cited sensitivity around data privacy.
- 60 percent use data to better understand customers.
- 59 percent rely on data to measure business objectives.
- 56 percent say they store data outside the company.
"This reflects a theme consistent throughout much of our research," says Robinson. "Technology is a more powerful tool for every facet of the organization and business lines are weighing in on technology matters as they use these tools to drive their objectives."
Across the board, companies see data of all types growing in volume, led by customer data, email and instant messages, log files and documents. They're also dealing with fragmented and siloed data: 45 percent of companies say that a high degree of their data is fragmented; another 42 percent say their data fragmentation is moderate.
For organizations seeking to move from the basic to the more advanced, Robinson advises them to take measured steps at each of the three stages of data usage: collection and storage, processing and organization and analysis and visualization. By doing so, companies will be better prepared to assess new data technology options, evaluate potential partners for data initiatives and be positioned to more fully realize the potential of big data.
As with most new technology undertakings, having the right skills can be a major hurdle. Big data is no exception. About half of the companies surveyed say they currently have the appropriate level of big data skill, while the other half see skills gaps in areas such as real-time analytics, relational databases and data security.
Organizations also express a willingness to work with third parties for help with their data initiatives. Over one-third of companies currently work with an IT firm for their data needs, those these engagements tend to be somewhat simplistic (data storage and data backup, for example). But as companies become more aggressive with their data initiatives, IT channel firms may find opportunities to offer comprehensive end-to-end services around data.
CompTIA's Big Data Insights and Opportunities report is based on an online survey of 402 business and IT professionals conducted in September and October 2015. The complete report is available free of charge with a simple registration at http://www.comptia.org/insight-tools.