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Big Data: Still stuck in neutral, it seems


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Fleet Owner  /  May 31, 2016

Ah, the “Big Data” conundrum: it’s supposed to help revolutionize any number of industries, trucking included, yet it’s a tool that seemingly remains largely under-used by most businesses around the world (though not without some pretty good reasons).

At least, that’s the conclusion of survey of some 1,189 information technology (IT) professionals in Europe, The Americas and Asia conducted by DNV GL – a software and independent advisory firm that serves the maritime, oil & gas and energy industries – and research institute GFK Eurisko earlier this year.

Consider: some 65% of those polled by DNV GL and GFK are planning for a future where big data plays a significant role, some 76% plan to maintain or increase big data investments, while half of the companies interviewed for this survey say they’ve implemented at least one big data-related initiative.

But here’s the kicker though: In terms of business impact, while 52% say that big data represents an “emerging opportunity,” only 23% today have a clear strategy for capitalizing on it.

[DNV GL also put together an interesting “top 10 trends” list earlier this month regarding IT developments – several of which touch on trucking. Check it out by clicking here.]

It’s an even bigger issue when you look the small amount of benefits being obtained by the already-small percentage of companies that said in this poll that they currently “leveraging” big data in their operations:

  • Some 23% report increased efficiency, while 16% see better business decision making
  • Another 11% report financial savings
  • Some 16% have improved customer experience and engagement
  • Just 9% claim improved relations with other stakeholders

Those are not exactly huge numbers, and though one survey does not establish a permanent trend line, it does indicate the shift to incorporating big data within business structures is a process that’s going to take time, noted Hans Groothuis, president of the North American operations of DNV GL, in a statement.

"Big data is in the earliest phase of market transformation; not unlike the pressure wave of the Internet in the late 1990s, which changed the global economy forever,” he explained. “In this survey, the difference we see in potential versus current value is actually a positive indicator of global businesses figuring out how to mesh big data concepts with existing business models."

This is especially true for trucking (go here, here, and here for just a few examples) as the use of “big data” will supposedly help the industry become more efficient across the board; efficiencies that should, hopefully, allow truckers to cut costs and generate more profit.

We’ll see if and when such big data promises materialize.

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