For channel partners moving into big data, not only are you right about the sales opportunities, you’re very right, according to a recent CompTIA research study of 935 IT and business executives. Nearly two in three of the study’s participants (as in customer prospects) are unfamiliar with the Big Data concept yet believe their business would benefit from harnessing their data into actionable initiatives.
Sounds like the sales door isn’t just ajar, it’s wide open. Indeed, the CompTIA study, ”Big Data Insights and Opportunities,” available free of charge, revealed that only a scant 6 percent of companies are positioned exactly where they want to be with managing and using data. About half are moderately close, 31 percent are very close and 14 percent aren’t really within earshot of their data management and analysis goals.
Owing to the complex nature of Big Data, many businesses in the study said that they expect to rely on outside experts — or, in channel parlance, trusted advisers — for assistance. In fact, over the next two years, 28 percent of respondents plan to contract with an IT solution provider for services such as cloud storage integration, data center management or predictive analytics application deployment, according to CompTIA.
“As expected for an emerging technology with an evolving definition, many executives are still moving along the Big Data learning curve,” said Tim Herbert, CompTIA Research vice president.
“Not every business will need a Big Data strategy,” he said. “But just about every business will need to effectively aggregate, store, manage and analyze the data they do have, regardless of its volume, velocity or variety.”
Of the study’s participants, 59 percent want either to start or improve on their ability to detect patterns in their data, while 67 percent want to do the same with relationship analytics, such as understanding how variables are correlated.
While the study showed that businesses are nervous at the prospect of mismanaging their data and believe inaction will lead to lower productivity, lack of business agility, internal confusion over priorities and reduced profit from inefficient operations, it also uncovered that IT vendors are prepping for Big Data opportunities.
Among IT vendors, some 39 percent plan to invest in staff technical training; 37 percent will check out vendor partner programs for reseller opportunities; 37 percent will align with others who have Big Data experience; 26 percent will hire staff with Big Data experience; and 26 percent will seek out local partners to team up with on Big Data proposals.
“Big Data initiatives often require bringing together technical, analytical, statistical and creative thinking skills,” said Herbert. “Historically, these skill sets have been somewhat compartmentalized, a situation many companies will need to address.”
Data from the CompTIA study came from two separate online surveys, the first of which involved 500 U.S. and IT business executives and a second of 435 IT executives, most of which have some interaction with the channel.