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Canadian businesses ill-prepared for Big Data Era, survey finds

Canadian businesses are at risk of falling behind international competitors in the era of Big Data. A recent survey conducted by IDC Canada and commissioned by SAS, has found that while 96% of Canadian companies say the ability to process and...


December 5, 2012  


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Canadian businesses are at risk of falling behind international competitors in the era of Big Data. A recent survey conducted by IDC Canada and commissioned by SAS, has found that while 96% of Canadian companies say the ability to process and act on data in real time is important, less than half (48%) have invested in the technologies to do so.

The survey further found Canadian companies are late and slow in adoption of technology capable of processing Big Data, and strategic data decision making is being relegated to mid-level IT managers, rather than being viewed by the C-suite as a critical matter.

By contrast, international companies are more likely to trust these decisions to the CIO and CFO, have a longer Big Data technology adoption track record and more defined plans for adoption in the near future of these technologies that are assisting organizations become more innovative and productive, it stated.

“Organizations that have begun to embrace Big Data technology and approaches are demonstrating that they can gain competitive advantage by being able to take action based on timely, relevant, complete, and accurate information, rather than guesswork,” said Nigel Wallis, research director for IDC.  

“For Canadian organizations to take full advantage of the transformative potential of their data, they need to approach it strategically. That starts with executive understanding and ownership of data as differentiator and an end to the pattern of delegation that has so far characterized Canadian technology adoption.”

While more than two thirds (76%) of international companies interviewed in another recent survey by SAS have already adopted technologies, fewer than half (48%) of Canadian respondent have, and 15% have no adoption plans for the future.

“Mid-level IT managers in Canada are close to six times more likely than the international average to be primarily responsible for data management strategy, with a quarter of Canadian companies placing such decisions in their hands versus 4% internationally,” the two organizations said in a release.

“At the same time, companies are only using a fraction of the vast amount of information available. An overwhelming majority of respondents (76%) are using internally produced data, but other valuable sources such as social media (32.7%), web data (34.7%), RFID tags (26%) and GPS (16.7%) have yet to gain significant traction. With Big Data technologies, analyzing these data sources is faster and simpler than ever.”

IDC definies Big Data as a “new generation of technologies and architectures, designed to economically extract value from very large volumes of a wide variety of data, by enabling high-velocity capture, discovery, and/or analysis.”