Big Data in the Great White North

Canadian businesses who want to get ahead and see improvements in their profits and the running of their organizations would do well to embrace the world of big data.

Yet it seems that while some businesses in Canada are seeing real benefit from big data, Canadian firms as a whole are slower to adopt big data than their global competitors.

Businessman silhouetteSo where does big data stand in Canada right now and why should Canadian firms be quicker to adopt it?

Canadian Businesses Slow to Adopt Big Data

Compared to the rest of the world, Canada doesn’t seem in a hurry to adopt big data.

According to a survey by market intelligence experts IDC:

  • 48% of Canadian companies say they are processing data faster than ever, compared to 64% worldwide;
  • 17% of Canadian companies started working with big data five or more years ago, compared to 32% worldwide;
  • 15% of Canadian companies have no plans to work with big data, compared to 5% worldwide.

It’s clear that Canadian companies are lagging behind the rest of the world on big data, citing the necessary cost of investment and need for updated technology as a stumbling block.

But have any sectors in Canada seen the light when it comes to big data?

Healthcare and Finance Sectors Adopt Big Data and See Big Results

Canadian companies who are embracing big data are already starting to see its value.

More than 50% of financial and telecoms companies surveyed said that faster data processing in real time was very important to their organizations, with telecoms companies being the most likely to have adopted big data in the last 3 – 5 years.

Canadian Pharmacists Association members have been seeing improvements thanks to big data.

Pharmacies that have embraced big data have seen patients doing better with following pharmacy advice, while interactions between drugs have been reduced.

Being able to see at a glance the full range of drugs each patient is taking makes it easier to tailor prescriptions to them, resulting not only in fewer side effects for patients, but a decrease in drug management costs too.

Putting the Right People In Charge of Big Data

While it’s true that users of big data need to stay focused on the big data bottom line – increasing efficiency and using insights to better meet market needs and increase profits – one roadblock to big data adoption in Canada is appointing the right person to manage it.

It seems that some Canadian companies have yet to embrace the need for speed, with 25% putting their mid-level IT managers in charge of their data management strategy. Only 4% of companies worldwide leave their big data at mid-level.

For Canadian businesses to really benefit from big data, a shift in attitude is key.

Big data ties in to the high-level structure of an organization’s goals and plans for the long term, and as such CEO or CIO involvement is important.

Embracing the fact big data is not only valuable but potentially vital and worth investing in, is the way forward.

Canadian Businesses Need to Take Advantage of Big Data

Canadian companies who don’t adopt big data run the risk of missing out on the valuable insights it can provide in areas from financial to marketing, with the accompanying potential for increased profits.

With businesses around the world adopting big data, Canadian companies run the risk of losing any potential competitive advantage and falling behind in terms of analyzing customer behavior and product performance.

Without that knowledge, it will become harder to keep up with those who do have that knowledge.

Canadian businesses have been slow to adopt big data, but with some making inroads and finding the benefits, other businesses across sectors would do well to follow suit.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn is an author who writes on subjects as diverse as health, marketing, business, and SEO.


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