Recent big data reports highlight its importance to businesses. Your company should explore whether it is making the most of the revenue streams that big data may make available to it.

Big data is generally regarded as data sets that are too large and/or complex to manipulate or analyse with standard methods or tools, and require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery and process optimisation.

Two reports released in September 2014 on big data and big decisions from Accenture and PWC show an increasing trend for companies reaping rewards from big data. The Accenture report, comprising the results of over 1,000 senior technology and business executives,  highlights how organisations believe big data to be “critical” for “new market development” and “new revenue generation”, with 79% believing that companies which do not embrace big data will lose their competitive advantage. Significantly, 89% reported they believed that big data would revolutionise business operations in a similar manner to the internet. Moreover, 89% also believe that big data is “very important” or “extremely important” to their business’ digital transformation.

Both reports also highlight an increasing use of big data in the decision making process of companies. The results of the PWC report show that 64% of those surveyed felt big data had changed decision making in their organisation, and 25% expect it to do so within the next two years. The reports also indicate that those organisations that do not adopt big data will lose their competitive position in the market. Despite this, only 29% of executives surveyed based their last big decision on “data and analysis (internal or external)” with 30% preferring to act on intuition. The next challenge for businesses is how to reconcile intuition with big data, to make sure that the next big decision they make is the right one.