Companies not tapping into big data, US CIO survey says

Most chief information officers (CIOs) in the United States say their companies aren’t harvesting data on customers’ buying habits and demographics. And amongst those who said their companies do collect the information, more than half say talent issues keep them from generating business analysis from that data.

That’s according to a recent survey by Robert Half Technology, a division of executive staffing firm Robert Half International. When asked the question “Does your company collect customer data, such as email addresses, demographics, buying habits and so on?”, 76% of CIOs answered “no”.

Of the 23% who answered “yes”, more than half (53%) said their companies lacked the staff to access the data and produce reports and other insight. The survey included the responses of more than 1,400 US CIOs.

“Hiring employees to collect and fully leverage customer data can be costly, but the information can be extremely useful to organisations,” John Reed, senior executive director of Robert Half Technology, said in a news release. “This type of information gives firms an opportunity to create more personalised online experiences for customers, develop highly targeted marketing campaigns and optimise business practices.”

Meanwhile, another survey of 300 IT professionals said more than half of big data projects never get completed. Infochimps, a service provider of data management tools, found that 80% of the IT employees said finding the right talent was the biggest roadblock to working with big data.

The reports echo other recent research about companies needing to train or hire to maximise the effectiveness of analytics.

Related CGMA Magazine content:

Tackle the Talent Gap by Meeting Five Challenges”: Finding and retaining the right talent hinges on five challenges companies must address, according to an Ernst & Young report from fall 2012. Find out what high-performing companies are doing right and what they could do better.

CFOs: Finance Teams’ Strategic Capabilities Must Improve”: CFOs are being included in decision-making, and the capability they most want to see finance organisations improve is their strategic planning, according to a recent survey. The top challenges that finance teams face are related to strategy.

Neil Amato ( is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.