What do top executives say about big data adoption?

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NewVantage Partners has published its annual survey of senior executives on big data and artificial intelligence adoption in the business world. This year’s participants include 65 Fortune 1000 and industry-leading companies with 97.5 percent of the responded being senior executives.

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According to the survey, a vast majority of the businesses are not data-driven, and they won’t be in the near future. Although we have seen a significant increase in big data and AI investment in recent years, the results are not so significant. This year survey only records 31 percent of surveyed enterprises claiming themselves data-driven. The number has gone down steadily from 37.1 percent in 2018 to 32.4 percent in 2018 and to 31 percent this year.

Other figures also raise concerning trends of businesses not getting expected results from their investments. Nearly 72 percent of the participants said that their organizations haven’t formed a data culture yet. More than 53 percent of those surveyed confirmed that they fail to treat data as a business asset. Around 52.4 percent haven’t entered the data and analytics competition.

Despite disappointing numbers above, 62.2 percent of those questioned said that their big data and artificial intelligence investments have returned measurable results. Nearly a half of the surveyed saw big data and AI success on important metrics. The number of firms that are competing on big data and analytics accounts for around 47 percent of those questioned. Only a third of the participants considered their organizations data-driven while around 28 percent think that they have built a data culture in their enterprises.

More than 77 percent of the questioned businesses found it difficult to adopt big data and AI initiatives. That number is not shocking because business adoption of big data and AI is a long-term process. It is a journey rather than an overnight transformation.

The survey also unveiled the challenges businesses are facing when adopting AI and big data tools into their business operations. Some of the factors include organizational alignment, resistance, and agility. Around 95 percent of the issues that enterprises encounter are cultural challenges involving their people and process. The other 5 percent of the problems are technical issues.

The report points out the root causes that make it challenging for businesses to adopt big data and AI tools are the human factors and business processes. Therefore, if enterprises want to transform their organizations with big data and AI initiatives, they need to start with the cultural issues.

Of course, the ratio of data-driven businesses today is much higher than that ten years ago. Nonetheless, it is too early to be so positive about the figures. Many longstanding business models are struggling in today’s digitalized world. The survey findings show a positive data-driven transformation in the business world; however, it is underwhelming compared to the amount of investments enterprises have been pouring into the area. Nevertheless, companies shouldn’t rush their way into big data and AI adoption since it takes time for the fruit to ripe.

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