Businesses yet to develop compelling case for big data



IT/business divide prevents organisations exploring big data solutions

LONDON, UK – 19-Mar 2013 – Only a quarter of European organisations have already built a business case for big data according to ‘Big Data – Beyond the Hype’, a new report from Vanson Bourne and INTERXION HOLDING NV (NYSE: INXN), a leading European provider of carrier-neutral colocation data centre services.

Big data: A strategic proposition?

Although the number of businesses who have successfully made a case for big data is still fairly low, it is being widely considered, with 81% of organisations either already having explored big data or planning to do so.

Interestingly, companies where the IT strategy is aligned with the business plan are much more likely to have explored the possibilities of big data: more than nine in ten organisations where the IT plan is closely mapped to the business plan have already explored big data. Company size is also important with a greater number of larger businesses having considered big data.
Where the IT strategy is not aligned to the business plan, either because it does not plan that far ahead or is designed to fulfil other goals, fewer than six in ten organisations have explored big data. This drops even further to 40% in those businesses where the long term strategic plan has not been shared with IT.

Ian McVey, Director, Enterprise & SI, Interxion, commented: “These results clearly demonstrate that those forward-thinking companies who are working in sync with their IT departments are more alert to the opportunities presented by the application of emerging technologies. For these firms, it’s incredibly important for the IT department to think ahead and lay the foundations for any future applications of big data that may provide the business with competitive advantage.”

Identifying the challenges

Big data is seen as both an opportunity and a challenge for the business and the IT department, but it is small companies where the challenge is most keenly felt. 79% of businesses with between 501 and 1000 employees say their IT departments see big data as a significant challenge, compared with only 55% of organisations with more than 3000 employees.
When the survey drilled down into the specific challenges involved in building a big data solution, almost half (45%) of respondents said that there are more pressing demands on the

IT department’s time, while a third cited reluctance to invest in the CAPEX needed (33%), a lack of storage capacity (32%) and a lack of expertise in-house (32%).
In terms of the technology required to deliver big data solutions, it’s no surprise that analytics (55%) and storage (53%) are the biggest concerns. Perhaps more unexpectedly, the network comes a close third, with almost half (48%) of respondents admitting that they are extremely concerned about this issue as it relates to the speed of accessing, processing and delivering information. This makes sense when you consider that 58% of organisations expect to need their big data to reach the end-user within 100 milliseconds.

“These results highlight that the capabilities of the network underpinning the analytics should not be overlooked. If the network can’t access, process and deliver information at the speed required, then the data-crunching power of the systems sitting above it is irrelevant,” continued McVey. “For this reason, where you “house” your big data solution is a strategic consideration. Meeting the needs of volume, velocity and variety calls for the solution to be located in a well connected data centre facility.”

Understanding the opportunity

Despite some of the challenges identified, the study’s respondents recognised that big data was capable of delivering a broad range of business benefits: better decision making (57%), improved customer satisfaction (54%), more cross-selling (47%), bringing new products and services to market more quickly (46%) and  innovation (46%) all scored highly.

These understood business benefits were reflected to some extent in the applications driving big data needs at respondents' organisations:  customer management systems (41%), e-commerce (35%) and financial transactions (34%) came out on top.

Staying one step ahead

Although only 7% of respondents believe that big data is already a priority for their organisation, this is set to change dramatically, with a further 62% convinced that it will become a priority within the next 3 years.

“Big data is still in the hype cycle stage, but it’s clear that the challenges posed by the volume, velocity and variety of data will become increasingly important over the next few years,” concluded McVey. “In order to capitalise on the benefits that respondents anticipate, it’s crucial to make the right choices now and ensure that all the elements are in place for a successful big data solution. Choices about systems, networks and applications made today will have a big impact on the ability to deliver big data programmes down the line, so it’s imperative to involve all three relevant disciplines: business, IT and telecoms.”
– ENDS –

Notes to editors
Commissioned by Interxion, Vanson Bourne surveyed 750 senior IT decision makers at companies with more than 500 employees in November and December 2012. There were 150 respondents from the UK and Ireland, and 100 each from Germany, France, Spain, Austria and Switzerland, Benelux and the Nordics.

About Interxion
Interxion (NYSE: INXN) is a leading provider of carrier-neutral colocation data centre services in Europe, serving a wide range of customers through 33 data centres in 11 European countries. Interxion’s uniformly designed, energy-efficient data centres offer customers extensive security and uptime for their mission-critical applications. With connectivity provided by over 450 carriers and ISPs and 18 European Internet exchanges across its footprint, Interxion has created content and connectivity hubs that foster growing customer communities of interest. For more information, please visit

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