GRENOBLE, France, April 29, 2015A new Xerox study reveals that the vast majority (74%) of organisations expect intelligence gleaned from big data to produce a positive return on investment (ROI) within 12 months of implementation; with more than half (56%) already experiencing business benefits from big data.

Based on a survey of 330 top-level business executives across five Western European countries, the study1, conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Xerox, also found that poor data quality and a lack of data expertise is hindering the business transformation that big data solutions offer.

“Executives see the potential of data-driven intelligence taking root, but the soil is still quite rocky in spots,” said Craig Saunders, director, Analytics Resource Center, Xerox Consulting and Analytics Services. “The ecosystem is full of challenges.”

The study cites three key trends underlining the state of big data in the enterprise today:

  • Big data is key decision-driver for 2015: Three fifths (61%) of organisations said decisions made during the next year are likely to be based more on data-driven intelligence than factors such as gut feeling, opinion or experience.
  • Inaccurate data proving costly: But 70% of organisations are still encountering inaccurate data in their systems and 46% believe it’s impacting negatively on their business, requiring re-calculation or totally unusable data sets.
  • Data security and privacy: 37% of respondents rated data security and privacy as one of their biggest challenges when implementing big data strategies.

“Despite the challenges, the large majority of companies are moving forward with big data technology across a wide range of different use cases,” said Saunders. “But there’s also a wide range of issues that keep executives up at night.”

Challenges affecting the potential future success of big data strategies varied from country to country:

  • 48% of German firms are challenged by data quality issues –more than the European average (34%)
  • Germans are also more likely to experience data security and privacy issues (47% versus the average of 37%)
  • Belgium is particularly concerned about a lack of user training (39%) and C-level support (36%)
  • France’s primary concern is the lack of access to client / third-party data (39%)
  • 36% of UK respondents feel lack of user training will impact their ability to implement their big data strategy
  • In the Netherlands, lack of access to internal data (due to technical bottlenecks) is the top challenge (36%)

“Datarati” Pull Ahead

The study found only 20% of respondents show high competence in dealing with big data, defined as ‘Datarati’, while 31% are shown to be clearly lagging behind in their approaches (‘Data-laggards’). Most, (49%), were categorised in between these two groups, and defined as ‘Data-explorers.’

Big Data Maturity Groups

20% strong big data competence (‘Datarati’)

49% mid-level big data competence (‘Data-explorers’)

31% low big data competence








There is a marked difference between the Datarati and Data-laggards in terms of data quality. Nearly two-fifths (38%) of Datarati say that they never or rarely find misleading or inaccurate information within their data sets, whilst only about a fifth (19%) of Data-laggards said this.

A third (33%) of the Datarati have complete trust in big data analysis when making executive decisions, compared with only 17% of Data-laggards.

Partnerships Remove Roadblocks

Company aspirations around big data remain high despite the presence of inaccurate data. Overall, adoption of big data solutions are expected to transform businesses through providing closer engagement with customers (55%), better engagement within internal teams (54%) and supporting greater employee productivity (54%).

“The majority of executives anticipate ROI soon, but realise that many organisational silos need to be broken in order to achieve that vision.” said Saunders.

Over half (55%) of respondents in the study declare that they lack strong enough processes to ensure true data quality.

To this end, 33% of respondents plan to hire more data engineers over the next 12–24 months, and 30% will also be looking to hire data governance developers and data scientists.

Partnering with external experts is one way executives hope to make progress. The study showed 30% of respondents plan to partner with external providers to bring big data projects up to speed in the next 12 months.

Three-fifths (59%) of respondents would choose to contract with two suppliers working in partnership, where one brings deep industry knowledge and the other is a specialist analytics firm.

Top 2015 Information and Communications  Technology Priorities

1. Big data solutions

2. Real-time business or customer analytics

3. Achieving single view of customer

4. Understanding product performance

5. Web analytics/Location specific insights

“To make the most of the opportunities that big data and data analytics presents, organisations need to make the right investments in their big data ecosystem - people, culture, systems and processes, as well as good partnering choices,” said Saunders “We’ve seen this first hand as enterprises apply and use solutions that incorporate Xerox’s data analytics research to provide better real-time information, understand complex relationships within data and predict future outcomes based on past data, in industries ranging from transportation to customer care.”

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About Xerox
Xerox is a global business services, technology and document management company helping organisations transform the way they manage their business processes and information. Headquartered in Norwalk, Conn., United States, we have more than 140,000 Xerox employees and do business in more than 180 countries. Together, we provide business process servicesprinting equipment, hardware and software technology for managing information -- from data to documents. Learn more at

Xerox has manufacturing and logistics operations in Ireland, the U.K. and the Netherlands, and a research and development facility – Xerox Research Centre Europe – in Grenoble, France.

Media Contacts:
Sonia Panchal, Xerox
+44 (0)1895 84 2877

Robert Corbishley, Xerox
+44 (0)1895 84 3239

1About the Study

Definition: Forrester defines big data as a set of methodologies, processes, architectures, and technologies, where specific hardware, algorithms, knowledge or processes beyond the standard techniques used in data analytics are required to deal with data of large volume, velocity or variety of data in order to obtain value. 

In this study, “Big Data in Western Europe Today”, Forrester conducted an online survey of 330 senior business (CEO, HR, Finance, and Marketing) and IT decision-makers in Retail, High Tech, Industrial and Financial service organisations in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK. The study was completed in January 2015.

The study refers to 'data maturity' groups: the Datarati, Data-explorers and Data-laggards. These groups were determined by scoring the survey respondents on the level of agreement they gave to a set of statements about their big data and analytics capabilities.

The Xerox report on the study can be downloaded from here: