Big Data a Top Priority for Executives: McKinsey Survey

A new study from McKinsey & Company suggests that businesses are making Big Data and data analysis a top priority going forward. The findings echo those of a few other research firms.

McKinsey & Company’s survey involved 1,469 “C-level executives” from a variety of industries; some 8.5 percent of respondents worked in a segment with a specific technology focus. The firm conducted the survey between April 3 and April 13, 2012.

Sixty-five percent of those respondents cited Big Data and analytics as important to their organization on some level; around 68 percent reported that digital marketing and social tools were a similar priority, while 56 percent felt that way about flexible delivery platforms.

“Of the three key business technology trends the survey asked about, just more than half of all respondents say their organizations have made two of them—big data and analytics, and digital marketing and social tools—at least a top-ten corporate priority,” read the report. “In fact, for each of the three trends, between 6 and 9 percent say it is their organizations’ top corporate priority.”

The firm’s data also suggested a willingness on the part of various companies to fund these high-tech initiatives. “Across sectors, professional services, high tech, and health care and pharma companies are investing the most,” the report added, “with more than four out of ten respondents in those industries saying their organizations will spend at least 2 percent on digital business.”

However, discrepancies apparently remained between classes of executives, with CEOs apparently more willing than CFOs and CIOs to fund digital business initiatives. At the same time, 36 percent of CEOs told the firm that “investments are roughly on the right level,” while 30 percent of CFOs and COOs agreed with that assessment (along with an even lesser number of CMOs and CIOs).

Respondents were generally bearish about the prospects for data analytics. “More executives say they have outperformed competitors in their use of big data and analytics than in applying any other trend,” read the report. Specifically, around 44 percent of respondents indicated more value generated from use of data and analytics, versus 32 percent for digital marketing techniques, 28 percent for social tools or technologies, and 28 for flexible delivery platforms.

Other recent reports have indicated a heightened interest in Big Data. A new study by Varonis, a company that develops tools for protecting and managing both structured and unstructured data, indicated that two-thirds of IT pros believe that Big Data should be a strategic priority for their organizations. Meanwhile, a May note from Nucleus Research indicated that accelerated and broader adoption of B.I. tools is indeed underway among organizations.

Image: McKinsey & Company

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