Big Data has gone mainstream. But is it succeeding? Results from two recent surveys (conducted by NewVantage Partners and Wikibon, respectively) show some key ROI (return on investment) challenges facing Big Data projects.

First up, Wikibon's Big Data Analytics Survey 2014 survey results -- which shows a disconnect between corporate IT and their business users. While corporate IT departments are pleased to get Big Data platforms (like Hadoop) up and running, their business user counterparts are struggling to define the right questions to be raising when using such platforms, notes Silicon Angle's spin on the research. And in many cases, Wikibon's research claims, the average Big Data project delivers just a 55 cent ROI for each dollar invested.

Another survey, from NewVantage Partners, revealed these key findings:

  • Big Data investment is significant and growing.
  • Big Data initiatives are in production, or fast on the way -- backed by top-down executive sponsorship.
  • The Chief Data Officer (CDO) role is becoming a corporate standard.
  • Business and technology partnership is growing and critical to success.
  • Big Data is going mainstream.
  • Despite all that, executives are wary of the term Big Data.

The Big Data Bandwagon

That's understandable. Many software and cloud companies, after all, have slapped the "Big Data" label on traditional software tools -- much in the way that the "cloud" label found its way onto plenty of traditional IT hardware platforms.

NewVantage says 67 percent of companies now have Big Data initiatives running in production. For businesses spending at least $10 million on Big Data, investments will grow about 75 percent by 2017. For businesses spending at least $50 million on Big Data, investments will grow about 28 percent by 2017.

Now here's the big twist: Only 4 percent of NewVantage survey participants see "technology selection" as being critical to a successful Big Data project. The far bigger issue involves synergy between IT and business executives.

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