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Big Data & Analytics: Risk, Reward, and Return on Investment

Big Data & Analytics: Risk, Reward and Return on Investment

Rapid advances in information and communication technologies are driving many aspects of today’s world, from the broadest social and economic developments to the most personal day-to-day choices. Smartphones and tablets, connected to vast stores of information and applications, are spreading opportunities for growth and change far beyond traditional boundaries. Innovators like Airbnb, Bitcoin, and Uber have shown traditional hotel, bank, and taxi operators—and everyone else—that technology-driven disruption can be very fast and very powerful.

Now, established businesses of all types are being admonished to jump in soon, to “disrupt themselves” before they are overtaken by more nimble and tech-savvy new competitors. The broad customer base, deep product line, well-known brand, and stable business processes of established firms—their most valuable assets—are now seen as hard-to-maneuver impediments to the rapid pace of change that is expected of incumbents who want to stay in the game.

Making better use of data and analytics is the key to successful disruption, for newcomers and incumbents alike, and across all industries. Every business that wants to survive and thrive will need to use Big Data and analytic (BDA) solutions to find the revenue-generating and cost-saving possibilities that are hiding in their current information systems, databases, and business processes.

Stratecast | Frost & Sullivan research shows that some early adopters of BDA are finding success, though, not easily; nor have many been able to achieve quantifiable returns on investment (ROI) from their deployments. These difficulties give rise to the speculation that BDA could end up like the enterprise software suites of the 1990s, which experienced an initial rush of enthusiasm, but ultimately failed to attract widespread adoption.

This report puts the risks, rewards, and ROI questions about Big Data and analytics into a clearer perspective; first, by contrasting BDA solutions with the ill-fated 1990s enterprise software suites; then, by highlighting the experience of early BDA adopters; and, finally, by suggesting how organizations that are still on the BDA sidelines, and the vendors who are trying to attract them, can move forward with more reasonable expectations for their BDA investments. It should be useful to both buyers and sellers of BDA solutions, and to others with a general interest in this fascinating market.


  • Introduction1
  • BDA Is Not Your Father's Enterprise Software Suite
  • Great Expectations, Middling Results
  • What's Keeping Customers from Quantifying their ROI?
  • How Can BDA Solution Providers Help?
  • The Last Word

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