Australian business sees big data potential but is failing to leverage: report

While Australian businesses are clearly positive about the benefits of integrated data analytics, a huge proportion view their attempts to leverage as falling short, a survey has found.

Businesses are clearly positive about the benefits data analytics can provide, with nine out of 10 organisations believing it can help support business decision making and offer a better customer experience. Additionally, eight out of 10 organisations agree data analytics can help increase profit or revenue, support innovation and drive competitive advantage.

These are the findings of a recent report, titled ‘Big Data or Big Hype?’ conducted by customer experience strategy and research firm FifthQuadrant.

It found that three quarters of Australian organisations are currently using ‘big data’ analytics in some form.

The problem, however, is in turning potential into potency. 53% of those surveyed say their attempts to leverage ‘big data’ for a better customer experience have not been successful. Only one in eight assessed their big data analytics activities as ‘extremely successful’.

How analytical systems are used varies significantly between organisations. Just less than one-third (31%) actively use big data and analytics when forming strategic decisions or across a wide range of corporate activities. Fewer than three in 10 consider big data a core business initiative and just one-quarter use it to determine the success of a product or project.

Customer service, sales and marketing are the biggest users of analytics within organisations, while the least prolific user is the human resources department.

The study identified a correlation between the maturity of an organisation’s big data analytics practices and business performance outcomes, particularly in the areas of customer experience performance, revenue generation, employee engagement and operational efficiency.

Businesses that score highly in maturity are generally more advanced in using analytics to determine ROI and to more effectively manage resources. Their analytics leadership is more likely to be driven by senior management, while in organisations that are not as mature, it is the line of business or business unit manager that leads the push.

A key characteristic of mature organisations is the use of a wide range of data sets. The most frequently used include customer transactions, customer relationship management systems, customer feedback streams and web browsing data.

Other sources include social media data, mobile device user generated data, social network profiles and GPS data. Of particular note is the growing practice of integrating both external and internal customer data among mature organisations.

Across all organisations, analytics are most commonly used in forecasting, improving the customer experience, marketing and real-time decision-making.

Less common uses among immature organisations, but widely used by mature organisations, include reducing operational overheads, development of new products, fraud prevention and detection, and contact channel optimisation.

Major challenges cited by less mature organisations included a lack of skills, the lack of an appropriate technology solution, poorly-integrated IT systems, lack of internal resources to manage change, and the fact that other initiatives have higher priorities.

While mature organisations are more likely to have overcome these issues, almost four in 10 have concerns about the quality of data. One-third cite data timeliness as an issue. One in four have problems with data relevance and one in five are concerned about data accuracy.