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Iron Mountain research reveals half of European businesses have no idea how to make the most of big data, and 21 per cent won’t even try

December 2012 by Iron Mountain

Europe is drowning in the big data maelstrom. New research reveals that across Europe, mid-market firms are struggling to cope, overwhelmed by the sheer volume and variety of information impacting the business. They are finding it hard to harness the potential of big data for business benefit.

The survey , commissioned by information management company Iron Mountain, found that half (52 per cent) of managers who believe that big data could bring real benefits to their business have no idea what they should do to achieve this. Of the 21 per cent of respondents who say they have no plans to use big data, a large proportion (38 per cent) say this is because they don’t know how to harness the sheer volume of incoming information. A small but significant number (10 per cent) of respondents say that senior executives do not believe there is an issue. This figure rises to 21 per cent in the manufacturing sector.

The study questioned 760 operational managers in IT, marketing, customer service and legal departments across five business sectors in France, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.

“Our study wanted to get beyond the hype of big data to discover how those who are, or will be responsible for the day-to-day management and use of big data feel about it,” said Marc Delhaie, PD-G d’Iron Mountain France. “The good news is that most of those we interviewed are very positive about the potential of big data and can see where it would benefit their business. The bad news is that many are falling at the first hurdle and simply don’t know where to start when it comes to managing the sheer volume and velocity of data so that they can realise its value.”

“The challenge of big data is not one that can, or should, be solved in a day. The information landscape is changing at such a pace that what is right for a business today could well be wrong tomorrow. The research results underline a need for companies to put in place a structured approach to getting the flow of big data under control. Although this represents a new and evolving challenge for businesses, the classic principles of information management still apply. Clear business goals should form the foundation of any strategy, with segmentation and prioritisation of data making the undertaking more manageable.”

Iron Mountain has released a 12-point action plan to help businesses better manage big data. Based on sound information management principals, the action plan provides practical advice on how to reduce the enormity of the task at hand, how to structure information to make it more manageable, and how to reap the business benefits that big data can provide.

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