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Productivity increases as Big Data improves says Deloitte


19 February 2014:  Three emerging trends in the evolution of Big Data strengthen its claim as a driver of business productivity and competitive advantage, says Deloitte.

In recent times, the business case for Big Data has suffered more than most as businesses have struggled to prove a definitive link between investments in Big Data systems and financial performance.

“Our experience reveals that the reasons may be more structural than strategic. The resilience of the Australian economy dampened pressure on local businesses to dig deeper for insights and to invest in more data-driven processes.” said Deloitte Consulting partner Tim Nugent.

“Technology shifts have left some first movers with write downs on their early investments. Furthermore, organisations that have pushed the boundaries on personal data use and retention have experienced difficulties in responding to regulatory forces and government scrutiny.”

As Big Data moves from the bleeding edge to the leading edge across Australian industry sectors, three emerging trends strengthen its claim as a driver of productivity and competitive advantage.

FASTER – Big Data provides real-time operational insights

Taking a look across Australian industries reveals a surprising lead candidate for Big Data adoption: mining.  Already comfortable with a large volume of data and with clear drivers to increase automation, mining also has less need to interpret a variety of unstructured consumer data such as social media sentiment.  The mining industry has one standout Big Data challenge: velocity.

Being able to build ‘speed of thought’ analytical capabilities can preserve precious production uptime, pushing operations to the frontier of efficiency.   

“The business case for real-time operational insight is easy to make when minutes of downtime equate to millions in losses,” said Mr Nugent.  “Other industries with intricate supply chains also continue to shift to data-driven decision making processes, as well as customer insights. This will unlock a new generation of business intelligence.”

SMARTER – Innovation changes the cost-model of Big Data implementations

In many cases, the cost of Big Data analytics is clearer than its benefits.  Entry pricing for systems continues to drop, however Big Data asset depreciation is still driven by obsolescence, not productive output.  The faster the technology moves, the more costly it appears on financial statements. 

Big Data products are addressing this challenge in innovative ways such as building bridges to more traditional business intelligence and analytical tools.  This reduces integration costs and the burden on employers of reskilling employees and hiring specialised labour.

“Competitive forces are driving vendors to take these barriers lower still,” added Mr Nugent. “Organisations increasingly want to look at options with big data solutions as an operating expense, reducing capital investment and keeping this off the balance sheet.”  

Furthermore, the intersection of Cloud infrastructure and Big Data solutions offers an attractive alternative to owning physical systems.  

STRONGER – Access to a growing community of Big Data experts is key to delivering value

Often the key to successful innovation is collaboration between businesses, research and education institutions.  In this context, the technology community, captivated by Big Data, plays a significant role in filling the skills gap left by underinvestment in data management capabilities.  

“The community’s ability to bring together practitioners from different disciplines creates a rich network for self-learning and knowledge exchange,”  said Mr Nugent  “Australian universities are doing their part, but simply do not have the resources to meet the scale of the challenge.”  

“In the current skills landscape, every company that is serious about using Big Data needs a plan to develop and access external data talent.  Without this type of open engagement, Australian industry risks an encounter with critical shortages in data skills.”   

Accordingly, with Australia searching for productivity gains as the terms of trade and sectoral externalities shift - these Big Data trends (faster insights, smarter solutions, and stronger communities) provide a roadmap for Australian business to leverage.   

“All of industry stands to gain enormously from a more coordinated approach to building the next phase of our (big) data-driven economy,” concluded Mr Nugent.

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Tim Nugent
Deloitte Australia
Job Title:
Deloitte Technology Consulting Partner
Tel: +61 3 9671 6153
Jane Kneebone
Deloitte Australia
Job Title:
Director, Corporate Affairs & Communications
Tel: +61 3 9671 7389, Mobile: +61 416 148 845




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