Priya Kothari

It’s easy to get caught up in the ‘big’ part of big data. But big data is defined as much by its variability and variety as by volume – the “3 V’s” of big data. Recent research from Forrester indicates that we may be reaching a tipping point when it comes to complexity and IT data.

Size is still a data problem…
This past summer, BDNA commissioned Forrester Research to look into how IT organizations are handling the data that they need to make informed decisions about technology in the business. The result was the report “Context-Centered Data Services: The Next IT Decision Support Challenge.”
The research confirmed that IT organizations struggle to handle the growing volume of data. Of the senior-level IT decision-makers surveyed, a full 59% said that the growth in data volume presented a significant challenge (4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5) when it comes to supporting IT decision-making.

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But complexity is catching up
Data complexity ranks a close second when it comes to getting in the way of decisions. The IT environment is getting more complex with each passing year. 2014 may be the year that complexity overtakes data volume growth as a barrier to effective decision-making. And the third-place problem facing decisions is inadequate analytics – the ability to make sense of large volumes of complex data.
When asked about the biggest challenges to IT decision-making in the coming 12 months, respondents put data complexity ahead of size:

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Note that we don’t expect to solve the problem of data size and growth – more than two thirds expect to wrestle with data volume growth in the coming 12 months. But an even larger number expect complexity to give them trouble.

The stakes are high – IT is a critical part of many business processes including governance and compliance, overall product/service strategy, and resource planning. Without a good handle on the underlying data, it’s difficult for businesses to make smart choices. And with the growing “Internet of things” becoming a reality, the world of IT data is rapidly expanding outside its traditional domain.

According to the Forrester report, the survey respondents see a role for third-party data services in helping them address data complexity. To read more about the research and the Forrester conclusions, download the Forrester report on context-center data services here.