The advantages of using Big Data go beyond IT and offset cost for Australian businesses

Robert Half research shows the IT department is not the only function benefiting from Big Data insights. Read more here.

  • There are no challenges46% of Australian CIOs believe Big Data has the most impact on non-IT departments versus 54% who say it impacts the IT department the most. 
  • 53% say the biggest advantage of Big Data solutions within their organisation is data-driven/strategic decision-making and 51% say a reduction in costs. 
  • Merely 1% state they experience no challenges when using Big Data in their organisation.
  • 46% say the high cost of Big Data is the biggest challenge and 43% refer to data protection/security. 
  • 49% state their non-IT senior management team do not have enough knowledge about Big Data. 

The use of Big Data has become fully embedded in Australian business life so that it is no longer considered a hype – it is here to stay. While Big Data is a concept that is instinctively linked to IT, independent research commissioned by specialised recruitment company Robert Half highlights that the IT department is not the only function benefiting from Big Data insights, thereby emphasizing the potential of Big Data and data analytics for the wider business. However, non-IT business leaders are still yet to fully understand its benefits and wider impact on their organisation. 

While the majority (54%) of Australian CIOs say Big Data and data analytics have more of a direct impact on IT, almost one in five (18%) believe it has more influence on their operations department. Another 16% say it has a more marked effect on the finance department, whilst 7% refer to marketing and sales. Customer service (4%) and HR (1%) are named as the final two business departments.

While Big Data serves several purposes, data-driven/strategic decision-making (53%), cost reduction (51%) and getting a better overview of operational processes (41%) are cited as the top three advantages by Australian CIOs. 

David Jones, Senior Managing Director Robert Half Asia Pacific said: “Big Data offers big potential. In our increasingly data-driven world, using data to make informed, strategic decisions that benefit operations in all departments and impact a company’s bottom line is crucial for any company. With all companies increasingly taking on a customer-centric approach, Big Data as such can help identify new trends, and unlock the promise of innovative business opportunities.”

What are the three biggest advantages of Big Data solutions for your organisation?

Data-driven/strategic decision-making 53%
Reduction in costs 51%
Better overview of operational processes 41%
New/enhanced products/services 40%
New/enhanced business models 38%
Improved customer service 28%
Market analysis and understanding 26%
Automated decision-making 18%
Revenue increase 6%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 160 CIOs – three answers per respondent.

“Using Big Data processes to its fullest advantage isn’t without its challenges, as it is the case with emerging technologies. In order for companies to reap the benefits of Big Data, they are increasingly looking for technology professionals who are not only highly skilled in data analytics, but who are also equipped with the right amount of business and financial acumen, and who are able to clearly communicate the advantages and insights to the wider business and senior management.”

On the other side of the scale, when asked about the biggest challenges of using Big Data, 46% of CIOs say the primary challenge is the cost of data capture, followed by 43% who refer to data protection/security and 43% who say technical considerations of implementing Big Data processes are one of the biggest challenges. 

Adding to these challenges, half (49%) of CIOs think their non-IT senior management team do not have enough knowledge about Big Data and the utilisation of data effectively within their organisation, thereby suggesting Australian businesses are still in the early stages of fully utilising Big Data processes. This summation is supported by PwC’s global report on Big Data – which found the majority (61%) of Australian organisations are only ‘somewhat’ guided by data in their decision-making process, and only a select few (5%) use data and analytics to plan for the future [1].  

“Big Data has changed everything about the way business is done, but its value is still being optimised and harnessing its fullest potential is still considered a challenge for many businesses. Collecting and analysing Big Data, and most importantly using those insights to further improve the business will be a vital investment for any organisation in order to secure a competitive advantage in their market.”

“Businesses have to take on an enterprise-wide approach to leverage the full potential of what Big Data has to offer and senior management plays a key role. A company’s board and leaders need to be fully engaged about the impact data can have on its business operations and overall success.”

“Setting up new software and program systems can demand a significant financial investment, however, once implemented and fully applied, the advantages can be significant in terms of cost reduction.” 

“When considering the advantages and inevitable challenges of using any new technology, Big Data definitely presents more unique opportunities for all business departments and its advantages for companies outweigh any initial obstacles,” David Jones concluded.

What are the three biggest challenges when using Big Data within your organisation?

High costs 46%
Data protection/security 43%
Technical considerations 43%
Personnel resources 36%
Financial resources 31%
Lack of understanding of the added value/potential 26%
Management processes 24%
Skills shortage 23%
Organisational processes  17%
Regulatory challenges 10%
There are no challenges 1%

Source: Independent survey commissioned by Robert Half among 160 CIOs – three answers per respondent.

[1] Big Decisions: Let the data do the talking


About the research
The annual study was developed by Robert Half Australia and is conducted in April 2016 by an independent research company. The study is based on 160 interviews with senior IT and technology executives from companies across Australia, with the results segmented by company size, sector and geographic location. 


Katherine Mills
Public Relations Manager, Asia Pacific
P: +61 2 8028 7757
E: [email protected]