The Challenges Canadian Companies Face When Implementing Big Data

Big Data is a big deal but implementing it is seldom simple or cheap.

According to new Accenture research that surveyed senior executives from seven industries in 19 countries, including Canada, the three biggest challenges Canadian companies face when implementing big data are budget, a shortage of skilled professionals, and security.

Canadian executives said the three main ways their companies use big data are to identify new sources of revenue, retain and acquire customers, and develop new products and services. And they’re seeing tangible business outcomes from big data, too, in the form of customer experience enhancement and new sources of revenue.

“Businesses are at a transition point­­ where instead of just talking about the potential results that can be achieved from big data, they are realizing actual benefits including increasing revenues, a growing base of loyal customers, and more efficient operations,” said Narendra Mulani, senior managing director, Accenture Analytics, part of Accenture Digital.

“They’re recognizing that big data is one of the cornerstones of digital transformation,” Mulani added.


But half of Canadian execs cite budget as a challenge to applying big data, while 40% struggle to find talent. These are obstacles they must overcome, however, as 90% rate big data as “extremely” or “very” important to their business’ digital transformation, and 86% of those who have applied big data are satisfied with the results, according to the report.

“We’ve seen organizations overcome big data implementation challenges by remaining flexible and recognizing that no single solution suits every situation,” explained Vince Dell’Anno, managing director and global information management lead, Accenture Analytics, part of Accenture Digital. “If a particular approach doesn’t work, organizations quickly try another one, learning as they grow.

“They also start small and stay realistic in their expectations,” he added. “Rather than attempting to do everything at once, they focus resources around proving value in one area, and then let the results cascade from there.”

 “Today, even the most basic items like water pipes can generate and provide data,” continued Mulani. “While the Internet of Things is giving rise to massive sources and quantities of data, new big data technologies are emerging that help uncover crucial business insights from the data.”

“Companies not implementing big data solutions are missing an opportunity to turn their data into an asset that drives business and a competitive advantage,” Mulani affirmed.