The study, sponsored by SAS, set out to identify the ways companies use massive amounts of data they collect.
The business must put a well-defined strategy in place before it starts collecting and processing information in order for data to "work its magic," according to the study of more than 700 companies.
Some 66% of companies surveyed collect Web data about their customers. And while the ability to use big data to create a better customer experience shows a strong connection with company performance, only 22% said social media and Web data influence customer experience. When used effectively, customer data can lead to dramatic improvements in loyalty, as well as more effective methods for enticing customers from rivals. The number rises to 33% among companies that significantly outperform their peers.
When asked to list the challenges in processing data more rapidly, 41% of respondents cited a lack of the right skills in their organization. This reason is more often cited by executives working in sectors where technical skills are essential, such as IT and financial services.
Companies will need data scientists and data stewards to gain insight, according to the survey. TruEffect Martin Smith also wrote a whitepaper titled "Big Measurement," which posits the need for the C-suite to add a Chief Measurement Officer to tackle big data challenges.
Marketers simply need to look outside of marketing and advertising toward industries and companies like IBM or Intel to see how data-driven thinking changes business and reshapes industries.