The increase in structured and unstructured data, combined with the need to make timely sense of this data, has driven the rise in big data technologies.
Organisations that put big data to work may realise a huge competitive advantage in the coming years as they gain powerful insights into both their customers and indeed their own organisations.
Despite CIOs ranking big data as their lowest priority for the year ahead, adoption rates are promising, considering that big data in its current form is still an emerging technology. 7% of respondents are actively using or implementing big data technologies, with 39% planning to research it in the next year.
This compares to 41% who either have no plans to engage with big data or do not believe that big data is relevant to their organisation.
When asked about the challenges related to starting big data initiatives in their organisation, 36% of CIOs surveyed felt that data and integration challenges present the biggest issue, while 28% of CIOs do not perceive big data to have any business benefit.
Of concern is the fact that 28% of CIOs consider a lack of skilled resources as an impediment to big data initiatives.
This would appear to be in line with the general IT skills problem which Ireland is currently facing. Interestingly, the majority of CIOs perceive the greatest benefit from big data to lie in driving operational efficiency. This may be the case in some sectors such as manufacturing, supply-chain and healthcare given the increasing prevalence of sensors collecting data to exploit.
For other organisations, however, the greatest benefit will lie with customer insight as well as fraud detection and risk management. The results suggest that CIOs may not yet be fully clear on how big data technologies can be leveraged to greatest effect within their organisations. Unless big data delivers on its potential and demonstrates value as an enabler of business growth, it may be some time before CIOs push it as an important priority on their agenda.