The real-world use of big data

How innovative enterprises extract value from uncertain data

The term "big data" is pervasive today and still the notion engenders confusion. Big data has been used to convey all sorts of ideas, including: huge quantities of data, social media analytics, next generation data management capabilities, real-time data, and much more. Whatever the label, organizations are starting to understand and explore how to utilize such solutions to process and analyze a vast array of information in new ways. In doing so, a small, but growing group of pioneers is achieving breakthrough business outcomes.

We sought to better understand how organizations view big data – and to what extent they are currently using it to benefit their businesses. The IBM Institute for Business Value partnered with the Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford to conduct the 2012 Big Data @ Work Study, surveying 1144 business and IT professionals in more than 130 countries, and interviewing more than two dozen academics, subject matter experts and business executives.

To compete in a globally-integrated economy, today’s organizations need a comprehensive understanding of markets, customers, products, regulations, competitors, suppliers, employees and more. This understanding demands the effective use of information and analytics. Next to their employees, many companies consider information to be their most valuable and differentiated asset.

Now, with the emergence and expanding adoption of big data, organizations worldwide are discovering new ways to compete and win – transforming themselves to take advantage of the vast array of available information to improve decision-making and performance throughout the enterprise. Not every organization will need to manage for the full spectrum of big data capabilities, but opportunities to utilize new data, technology and analysis techniques exist in almost every industry.

  • "Big Data"

    Watch the webinar about this study

    Michael J. Schroeck, Partner/Vice President, IBM Business Analytics and Optimization, and Dr. Janet Smart, Senior Research Fellow at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford discuss how enterprises are extracting value from big data.

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