Avoiding Big Data: More Business Intelligence Than You Would Think

Observing that boosters of “big data” are in a near panic about the slow adoption of “big data” technologies requires no reference.

A recent report from Iron Mountain and PWC may shed some light on the reasons for slow adoption of “big data:”

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If you are in the 66% that extracts little or no value from your data, it makes no business sense buy into “big data” when you can’t derive value data already.

Does anyone seriously disagree with that statement? Other than people marketing services whether the client benefits or not.

The numbers get even worse:

From the executive summary:

We have identified a large ‘misguided majority’ – three in four businesses (76%) that are either constrained by legacy, culture, regulatory data issues or simply lack any understanding of the potential value held by their information. They have little comprehension of the commercial benefits to be gained and have therefore not made the investment required to obtain the information advantage.

Now we are up to 3/4 of the market that could not benefit from “big data” tools if they dropped from the sky tomorrow.

To entice you to download Seizing the Information Advantage (the full report):

Typical attributes and behaviours of the mis-guided majority

  • Information and exploitation of value from information is not a priority for senior leadership
  • An information governance oversight body, if it exists, is dominated by IT
  • Limited appreciation of how to exploit their information or the business benefits of doing so
  • Progress is allowed to be held back by legacy issues, regulatory issues and resources
  • Where resources are deployed to exploit information, this is often IT led, and is not linked to the overall business strategy
  • Limited ability to identify, manage and merge large amounts of data sources
  • Analytical capability may exist in the business but is not focused on information value
  • Excessive use of Excel spreadsheets with limited capacity to extract insight

Hmmm, 8 attributes and behaviours of the mis-guided majority (76%) and how many of those issues are addressed by big data technology?

Err, one. Yes?

Limited ability to identify, manage and merge large amounts of data sources

The other seven (7) attributes or behaviours that impede business from deriving value from data have little or no connection to big data technology.

Those are management, resources and social issues that no big data technology can address.

Avoidance of adoption of big data technology reveals a surprising degree of “business intelligence” among those surveyed.

A number of big data technologies will be vital to business growth, but if and only if the management and human issues are addressed that will enable their effective use.

Put differently, investment in big data technologies without addressing related management and human issues is a waste of resources. (full stop)


The report wasn’t all that easy to track down on the Iron Mountain site so here are some useful links:

Executive Summary

Seizing the Information Advantage (“free” but you have to give up your contact information)

Inforgraphic Summary


I first saw this at: 96% of Businesses Fail to Unlock Data’s Full Value by Bob Violino. Bob did not include a link to the report or sufficient detail to be useful.

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