AIIM Research Indicates That Big Data Faces Big Content across the Chasm

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Dark data, security concerns and lack of expertise seen as biggest roadblocks, but adoption continues to rise as early investments start to yield results

One of the attributes of successful companies is their ability to understand their market, their customers, and their competitors. Analyzing mounds of data is one of the better ways to gain insight into what makes a company tick and to uncover new opportunities. Advanced content management, search, business intelligence and other “big data” technologies have armed companies with the ability to affordably analyze vast amounts of data. Given their potential to deliver massive value and competitive advantage, these technologies have not surprisingly seen tremendous growth and adoption over the past 18 months according to new research conducted by AIIM.

The new AIIM report, “Big Data and Content Analytics: measuring the ROI,” is a follow-up to a similar report issued in April 2012 and highlights the growth of big data over the past 18 months and exposes key trends. It also provides recommendations for how companies can more efficiently realize the benefits of analyzing big data.

The latest research indicates that while big data analysis is increasingly seen as an essential capability, 60 percent of organizations have only limited capability in business intelligence (BI) reporting, and 65 percent have a “somewhat disorganized” approach to content management. This is not a good starting point for the complex world of big data analytics, warns AIIM, which fears that many organizations are finding that they have vast quantities of “dark data” (data that lacks any control or classification) that could be holding valuable business intelligence.

“Big data potentially holds huge insight for organizations, but the mass of “dark data” could impact the ability to extract that insight effectively,” said Doug Miles, Director Market Intelligence at AIIM. “Businesses should look to harness their information, and combine it across disparate systems as a precursor to their big data journey. Connecting structured transactional datasets to unstructured data or text-based content is a key way to unlock knowledge, but most are finding this to be a major challenge.”

Beyond connectivity, having sufficient skilled users to work with big data toolsets is identified in the report as the next biggest challenge; perhaps no wonder then that 34 percent of early adopters either outsourced projects or brought in outside expertise (13 percent). A further third recruited or trained internal specialists, with the remaining third relying on existing in-house expertise.

Security is the third major big data adoption challenge – a potential show-stopper for nearly one in five organizations. Protecting personal data is the primary concern, but commercial and financial information is also sensitive. Security is also an inhibitor for cloud or SaaS deployment of big data tools. Automated cleaning and sanitizing of content repositories is a big data application in its own right.

Other key findings in the AIIM research report include:

  •     60 percent of early users consider their ROI to be good (excluding those who are still in the assessment phase), but 30 per cent are less certain of the ROI due to high technology and expertise costs
  •     Over 50 percent are successfully feeding the results into decision making, including six percent who are using them as a basis for “strategy setting”
  •     34 percent see that big data will be an essential capability for their business, up from 27 percent 18 months ago
  •     63 percent see security as a major issue, including 19 percent who consider it to be a show stopper
  •     16 percent have already invested in big data analytics tools, up from seven percent 18 months ago

The research for “Big Data and Content Analytics: measuring the ROI” was underwritten in part by Datawatch and IBM. The full report can be downloaded from the AIIM website, The survey covered 272 respondents worldwide from all sizes of organization. Data on completed projects came from 90 organizations with structured big data projects and 49 with unstructured big content projects. The report ranks the most popular content types for analysis, and the types of analysis being used, and covers both real-time applications and longer term business intelligence.

About AIIM
AIIM has been an advocate and supporter of information professionals for 70 years. The association’s mission is to ensure that information professionals understand the current and future challenges of managing information assets in an era of social, mobile, cloud and big data. Founded in 1943, AIIM builds on a strong heritage of research and member service. Today, AIIM is a global, non-profit organization that provides independent research, education and certification programs to information professionals. AIIM represents the entire information management community, with programs and content for practitioners, technology suppliers, integrators and consultants.

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Rob Goodman
McKenzie Worldwide on behalf of AIIM
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