U.S. Federal Executives See Big Data as Crucial to Agency Missions but Are Concerned About IT Resources and Staffing, Unisys Survey Shows

Survey also finds big data adoption lagging in majority of federal agencies

Oct 06, 2015, 08:00 ET from Unisys Corporation

RESTON, Va., Oct. 6, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A new survey sponsored by Unisys Corporation (NYSE: UIS) found that 93 percent of federal government respondents with big data projects underway said that the use of advanced data analytics has improved the quality and speed of decision-making, while 87 percent said that the projects have improved their ability to predict trends and quantify risk.

However, the new survey also identified concerns some federal executives have about big data projects. Seventy-three percent of respondents who are considering big data projects said they are concerned that their agencies' current storage, computer and networking infrastructures might not be able to support their big data needs. Nearly 70 percent reported they are concerned about their agencies' ability to analyze key data rather than simply collect it.

Additionally, more than one-third of respondents (35%) reported difficulty obtaining and retaining the knowledge workers and data scientists needed for successful big data initiatives.

The survey defined big data initiatives as projects that address the challenge of how to harness the hundreds of thousands of petabytes of data collected by the government and use it as the basis for decision-making and to predict trends.

While the survey showed that an overwhelming majority of federal executives with ongoing big data projects are confident of the benefits, it also indicated that other agencies are slow to adopt these important tools. The survey found that only 16 percent of agencies surveyed have fully implemented big data initiatives, and approximately 40 percent have no current plans for big data. The rest of the agencies surveyed either are conducting pilot projects or investigating the adoption of big data.

"It is unfortunate that many federal programs are missing the opportunity to leverage advanced data analytics since a number of programs are successfully using these tools to achieve breakthrough results," said Rod Fontecilla, vice president for advanced data analytics, Unisys Federal. "Forward-thinking agencies within the federal government have proven the value of advanced data analytics in mission areas ranging from protecting against potential threats related to goods and people crossing our borders to projects for evaluating the potential delinquency risk of federal loan programs."

In order to fulfill the needs of new big data projects, many agencies are looking to hire additional employees, as well as bring on support from outside consultants, according to the survey data. Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents said their agencies are hiring more data analysts, while half said their agencies are in the market for a data analytics director.

Many federal agencies also are leveraging the expertise of contractors. Ninety-eight percent of respondents said they will either maintain or increase their use of consultants to work on big data projects in the next 12 months.

For more information on the big data survey or to download the report, visit www.unisys.com/big-data.

About Unisys

Unisys is a global information technology company that works with many of the world's largest companies and government organizations to solve their most pressing IT and business challenges. Unisys specializes in providing integrated, leading-edge solutions to clients in the government, financial services and commercial markets. With more than 20,000 employees serving clients around the world, Unisys offerings include cloud and infrastructure services, application services, security solutions, and high-end server technology. For more information, visit www.unisys.com.

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