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Executives See More Value in Big Data Than Social Media

A new survey from McKinsey & Company concludes that, although big data may not get as much mainstream attention as social media, it is still a greater business priority for most executives. The survey asked 1,500 CEOs, CFOs and CIOs about how they position the three major trends in digital business – big data and analytics, digital marketing and social media, and new delivery platforms such as cloud and mobility – within their corporate strategies. The results are surprising.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal‘s CIO Journal, approximately 49% of survey respondents said they focused on using big data to gain insight into their customers, with 32% saying they emphasized social media as a way of interacting with customers, promoting their brands and better understanding brand perception in the consumer marketplace. When it comes to generating more direct value for companies, big data and analytics beat out all other digital business tools, with 44% of respondents assigning it the “Top Value” rating, compared to digital market techniques at 32%, social tools or technologies at 28% and flexible delivery platforms also scoring 28%.

Just over half of respondents said their organizations have made at least two of the digital business trends a top-ten strategic priority, though only one-third believed their companies are investing enough resources to fully utilize the technologies’ benefits.

The majority of those surveyed said their organizations are looking to reap higher profits and market share from the digital business trends:

  • One-third of respondents expected digital business “to increase operating income by more than 10% over the next three years.”
  • Approximately half said their organizations are using big data, social media and new digital delivery platforms to build a competitive advantage within their existing business.
  • Just under 30% say their organizations expect these new digital technologies “to build a new business or tap into new profit pools.”


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