NewVantage Partners Releases Annual Big Data Executive Survey for 2018

Data and Innovation: How Big Data and AI are Driving Business Innovation

5 Key Conclusions Highlight Report

BOSTON--()--NewVantage Partners, strategic advisors in Big Data and business innovation to Fortune 1000 businesses, has released the results of its 2018 6th Annual Big Data Executive Survey, entitled “Data and Innovation: How Big Data and AI are Driving Business Innovation.

The 2018 Big Data Executive Survey reports on the evolution of executive perspectives from nearly 60 Fortune 1000 companies, as firms come to terms with the impact of Big Data, and its implications. 2018 could be characterized as the year that Artificial Intelligence (AI) gained meaningful traction within leading corporations, and this year’s survey reports on how Big Data and AI are driving business innovation.

Survey respondents include top business and technology executives from such blue-chip firms as American Express, Bloomberg, Capital One, Charles Schwab, Fidelity Investments, Ford Motors, GlaxoSmithKline, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Met Life, Verizon, and VISA.

“As interesting and important as the embrace of AI and various forms of cognitive learning (machine learning, deep learning) by corporations is the role that Big Data has played in empowering AI,” said Randy Bean, Founder and CEO of NewVantage Partners and notable industry author and speaker, “Organizations now have ready access to meaningful volumes and sources of data which are providing AI solutions with meaningful data to detect patterns and understand behaviors.” The 2018 survey seeks to understand how Big Data and AI are helping drive business innovation.

Key findings of the 2018 New Vantage Partners Big Data Executive Survey include:

1. Mainstream firms fear disruption from highly agile data-driven upstarts.
One of the biggest surprises of the 2017 executive survey was the percentage of respondents acknowledging the threat of disruption and displacement, with nearly half of executives (46.6%) sharing this concern. The big surprise in the 2018 survey is the sharp jump in this number to 79.4%, representing nearly 4/5 of executive respondents. Why this escalating concern? Executives perceive growing threats from data-driven, highly agile competitors, including the big Tech Giants – Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook – as well as those competitors within their own industry who are demonstrating the ability to compete on data and analytics, especially those who have forged data cultures which give them agility and speed.

2. Big Data is empowering AI and cognitive learning investment and initiatives.
Executives seem to concur that AI has emerged as a powerful business force. A full 97.2% of executives indicate their firms are investing in building or launching Big Data and AI initiatives, and 76.5% agree that the proliferation and availability of data is empowering AI and cognitive learning initiatives within their firms. The percentage of executives that believe that AI is the technology that will have the greatest disruptive impact leaps from 44.3% in the 2017 survey to 71.8% in 2018. In the same way that the development of the Internet had an impact in ways beyond those initially conceived, Big Data is empowering a set of capabilities that had previously failed to deliver on their perceived potential.

3. People challenges loom greatest as firms strive to create a data-culture.
Increasingly, executives are coming to the realization that the greatest barriers to creating data-driven organizations and building a data culture within their firms are coming not from technology, but from issues relating to people and change. Nearly half of executives – 48.5% -- identify people challenges as the greatest barrier to becoming data-driven, contrasted with only 19.1% that cite technology as the issue. Further, 57.5% of executives cite insufficient organizational alignment or cultural resistance as the biggest barrier to business adoption. And, while 98.6% of executives report embarking on creating of a data-driven culture, only 32.4% claim success at this stage. People challenges loom large.

4. The Chief Data Officer has arrived, but confusion on mandate and future persists.
The Chief Data Officer (CDO) has clearly arrived, but to what outcome? A full 62.5% of participants confirm that their organization has appointed a Chief Data Officer, a convincing increase from the 12% level of 2012. However, challenges remain. The CDO is a new corporate role, and as such, there is evident confusion and disagreement on the mandate and importance. While 39.4% of participants identify the CDO as the executive with primary responsibility for data strategy and results, 60.6% identify other C-Executives or claim no single point of accountability. And, while 34% believe the ideal CDO should be an outsider and change agent, 32.1% believe the ideal CDO should be an insider and company veteran. And finally, while half (50%) believe the CDO should sit on the executive committee, half (50%) disagree, with 12.9% percent believing the role should ultimately be phased out or is unnecessary.

5. Firms are investing in Big Data and AI with a goal of better analytics for decision making.
The affirmative news for data executives and proponents is that 97.2% of organizations are investing in Big Data and AI initiatives. However, investment levels continue to be modest. A relatively small (11.1%) percentage of survey participants report cumulative investment levels of greater than $500MM, with a majority (52.8%) reporting cumulative investments of under $50MM. Most of these investments appear to be targeted at deploying advanced analytics capabilities to enable business decision making, with 84.1% of participants having launched such efforts, and 58% achieving success, representing a 69% success rate. Efforts to decrease expenses follow, with 66.7% having launched efforts, 40.6% claiming success, for a 60.9% success rate. It can be expected that this investment trend is only like to continue as firms seek to compete on data and analytics against their agile, data-driven competitors.

“This continuing rise in the importance and challenges of Big Data is one of the most important features of the contemporary economy and society,” notes Bean and NewVantage Partners Senior Fellow Thomas H. Davenport, world-renowned thought-leader in management practices and data and analytics, and author of the landmark study Competing on Analytics. “The survey results over time provide interesting and useful documentation of this revolution. The key to success is to determine how your firm should respond and then to move ahead to execute the needed changes in a systematic and effective fashion.”

About NewVantage Partners
NewVantage Partners are strategic advisors in Big Data and business innovation to Fortune 1000 businesses. Since 2001, NewVantage Partners has helped this blue-chip roster of leading companies and industry leaders leverage data and analytics to drive innovation and business results. NewVantage Partners is based in Boston with offices in New York, San Francisco, Austin, and Charlotte. Visit for more information.


NewVantage Partners
Randy Bean, 857-991-1404

Release Summary

NewVantage Partners Releases Annual Big Data and AI Executive Survey for 2018


NewVantage Partners
Randy Bean, 857-991-1404