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Oracle survey says poor data management causes 13% revenue loss

A recent Oracle survey found a $1 billion company is losing $130 million per year in revenue due to poor data management. Some are skeptical.

A recent Oracle survey has found large enterprises are losing 13% of revenue due to insufficient data management, but some are skeptical of such a high number.

The survey of 333 North American executives asked questions around data growth and management, ultimately concluding companies are being deluged with data and aren't able to properly handle it. The 13% figure, however, would mean a $1 billion company is losing $130 million per year due to poor data management, and that has raised some eyebrows.

"The general tenor of Oracle's work appears pretty solid to me, but I'm a bit skeptical about a couple points," said Charles King, prime analyst at Hayward, Calif.-based Pund-IT Inc. He added that the 13% in revenue lost is a "huge number and one I'd question pretty closely" given what King said was a relatively small sample size.

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Rod Johnson, vice president of industries strategy at Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle Corp., agreed that the 13% is "really a shocking number." He didn't say exactly how the survey arrived at that number, but added that large companies are "beginning to align resources and investment behind it."

Oracle titled its survey, "From Overload to Impact: An Industry Scorecard on Big Data Business Challenges." King took some issue with that as well, saying the study didn't really look at “big data” as typically defined in the industry, but focused more on the increasing volume of data that companies are seeing and needing to make sense of. While big data normally refers to the unstructured and semi-structured data that might represent itself as, say, a bunch of tweets or an MRI image, King said Oracle "seems to be using it more generically."

In one portion of a presentation on the survey -- which focused on the consumer goods vertical market, the question seemed to equate "large data sets" with big data. Johnson said Oracle sees big data as having "four Vs: volume, variety, velocity and value." And he said the survey shows companies are also seeing "huge growth in the variety of data," which might be more indicative of how the IT industry sees the term big data.

The survey also found that 38% of companies don't have the right systems in place to gather the information they need. It was the top gripe, ahead of others such as not being able to give business managers access to information without IT assistance; not being able to make sense of the information and translate it into action; and the information not being timely enough.

King said use of the word "system" seemed unusual to him "since most vendors consider complex data management to be more of a software than a hardware conundrum."

Johnson, however, said the word "system" in the survey was meant to be more generalized.

"It's more holistic," he said. "We would think of it as the combination of software and hardware."

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