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How the big data movement has gathered steam over time

Rachel Wheeler Archive

The hype around big data has been steadily gaining momentum in recent years. Business leaders had already begun to realize years ago that by collecting more data on their present and future customers, they could improve their decision-making capabilities. But over time, their attention to the promise of data analytics has only increased, and there are plenty of numbers to prove it.

According to Direct Marketing News, the substance of the data movement now matches the hype. The consultancy and analytics firm NewVantage Partners recent released a new study, "Big Data Executive Survey 2013: The State of Big Data in the Large Corporate World," and the organization revealed that 91 percent of Fortune 1000 executives now have data-centered initiatives in place. Of those respondents, 32 percent said their initiatives are fully operationalized across the entire organization.

Randy Bean, managing partner at NewVantage Partners, told the news source that C-level executives have realized the benefits of working with big data and are now singing its praises.

"Big data initiatives may have their greatest impact on marketing effectiveness," Bean said. "Our big data executive survey indicated that marketing and sales were the primary drivers of big data corporate investments. CMOs stand to be the greatest beneficiaries of big data."

That said, the technology is quickly gaining widespread popularity across a variety of endeavors, including, but certainly not limited to, marketing.

A combination of factors have come together to make this movement possible.

Investment in analytics
Companies are unable to make significant commitments to analytics without funding. Luckily, high-level executives have begun to realize the tremendous power of data analysis, and they're showing a greater willingness to spend. NewVantage found that 68 percent of executives now expect their organizations to invest more than $1 million in data per year. Currently, 19 percent expect to spend at least $10 million, and that figure should rise to 50 percent by 2016.

Knowledge trickling down
Interest in the data movement must begin at the top of each organization. As CEOs and CFOs come to realize the power of such initiatives, they gradually begin to spread the word to mid-level managers and supervisors within their organizations. As C-suite executives begin to communicate their ideas to the rest of their organizations, interest in data naturally becomes more widespread over time.

Accelerated solutions
One key measure of the effectiveness of any data-driven initiative is "time to answer." In other words, a company wants to move as quickly as possible from the point of gathering data to the point of analyzing it and incorporating it into everyday operations. Now that data analysis technologies work more quickly and efficiently, businesses are better equipped to extract value from them.

Increased collaboration
According to Bloomberg Businessweek, some of the leading technology firms behind the big data movement are introducing new solutions that enable collaboration between multiple organizations across disparate sectors. Technology leaders in health care, finance, education and many other areas can work together to analyze data that will be mutually beneficial for all. Newly created tools make this easier than ever.

Emphasis on quality
Just a few short years ago, it was difficult for businesses to act on the information they had at their disposal, because they weren't sure whether it was accurate. Now that companies have begun to invest more in solutions for improving data quality, they are better equipped to turn their analyses into lessons that are verifiable and actionable. If companies proceed too far with inaccurate information, it can be a death knell, but in this new era of increased quality, they no longer have to. With all the recent improvements in technology, the sky's the limit for the analytics movement.