When it comes to getting actual value from big data, a majority of organizations like to talk the talk but most really don’t walk the walk.

That is the conclusion of a study by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Iron Mountain, which surveyed 1,800 business and technology leaders on their experiences with big data and data analytics. The study, entitled ‘How organizations can unlock value and insight from the information they hold,” found that most organizations have a lot of work to do before they will be able to make better use of the data they collect.

“Data is the lifeblood of the digital economy, it can give insight, inform decisions and deepen relationships,” noted Richard Petley, director of PwC Risk and Assurance. “It can be bought, sold, shared and even stolen – all things that suggest that data has value. Yet, when we conduced our research very few organizations can attribute a value and, more concerning, many to not yet have the capabilities we would expect to manage, protect and extract that value.”

Among the more significant findings of the study is that a majority of organizations (three-quarters) lack both the staff and tools needed to act on data analytics. Three-quarters of firms have no data professionals on staff, and of those that do, only one-quarter are using those professionals competently.

Equally telling is the large gap that exists between how many organizations perceive their ability to obtain value from big data, and how many actually do so. While 75 percent of respondents said they believe they are ‘making the most of their information assets,’ when pressed further the message was very different.

Nearly half (43 percent) of business and technology executives indicate they ‘obtain little tangible benefit from their information.' Another 23 percent said they ‘derive no benefit whatsoever.’ Only four percent were well positioned with staff, tools, and strategy to achieve full success with big data.

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