Whilst organisations are beginning to realise the importance of using data to make informed business decisions, many still lack control over their big data environment.

According to a recent IDG survey of CIOs and other IT leaders, 67% of respondents define their big data environments as ‘chaotic’, highlighting some of the biggest challenges they currently face and the solutions that have helped them take back control.

With big data becoming such an important aspect of all businesses, it is crucial that key decision makers take stock of their current situation and implement systems that will help them progress positively with their data journey.

This means tapping into some of the biggest trends that are currently shaping the future of analytics and capitalising on these to gain a competitive edge as the landscape evolves over time.

Controlling the chaos

Whilst the term ‘big data’ has been used for the past two decades, its relevance and importance has exploded significantly in recent years. Now, businesses are working tirelessly to extract maximum value from their data, with 95% of survey participants confirming they have deployed initiatives to perform data analysis.

This data explosion now means that it is everywhere, and by harnessing it, business leaders realise they can unlock hidden value that will contribute to better decision making, security improvements and enhanced productivity.

Therefore, businesses that stand the best chance of succeeding in the current big data landscape are those that coordinate a clear strategy, aligning the goals of the various functional groups within their organisation.

According to the report, many organisations are using two or more data analytics solutions, which are often scattered across different parts of the business, reinforcing the idea that big data is still very chaotic in some enterprises.

To overcome this disconnect, leaders must take a step back and work to create one single source of truth that runs throughout the organisation. This may be a dot-connecting exercise or a complete re-model of the existing structure, so that the data can be utilised correctly.

Security a key priority

As the data explosion continues and enterprises scramble to implement the necessary solutions, there are a lot of questions being asked about the security of these systems, especially as high-profile data breaches can be extremely costly for businesses.

Given the high volumes of data and the variety of formats, IT leaders and security teams must collaborate to identify threats and proactively protect sensitive data. When deciding which vendor to engage, it’s important to research and compare the security capabilities of each service.

Meanwhile, the number of data sources has expanded across multiple applications, databases and business systems, leaving businesses with significant integration challenges, from varied data formats to time-consuming data imports/exports.

In response to this, one of the key trends outlined in the report and one that organisations must act quickly to capitalise on is the transition to cloud-based applications, platforms and infrastructure. Not only are the security protections from cloud-based service providers more robust, but they provide the scale and speed businesses require to rapidly process and analyse large datasets.

With 3 in 10 organisations still managing all of their data in on-premises environments, there is a growing risk of systems becoming outdated. Instead, business must work towards a hybrid model in order to stay ahead of the competition.

Need for data speed

One of the biggest challenges businesses face with regards to their big data environment is that they often put too much emphasis on the technology itself and give no thought to how the solution fits with the existing culture and structure.

Change management is a critical part of the transition to data-driven operations, so organisations must update their existing processes to ensure the new solution is properly supported.

Meanwhile, the need for data speed means that businesses must implement sophisticated analytics solutions that allow them to react quickly and make informed decisions.

With users demanding real-time data aggregation and analysis, as well as faster access to data, businesses must find a system that facilitates process automation, although such capabilities are among the most challenging to provide.

Therefore, if your business is looking for a solution that will harness data and uncover important insights in a timely fashion, then our in-house team of experts can assist.