Big data has been more than just a passing fad for some time. Unlocking the extra value in the information that the business holds is something that many organisations are striving for, especially as the technologies to do so become more mature.

In fact, investment in big data infrastructure is continuing to rise, according to Gartner. The upward trend is not as aggressive as in years gone by, but it does signify that big data is here to stay, and enterprises who still aren't taking it seriously will likely get left behind.

There is a direct correlation between big data and business performance.

"As big data becomes the new normal, information and analytics leaders are shifting focus from hype to finding value," explained research director at Gartner Lisa Kart.

Finding value, boosting performance

The importance of big data, and extracting value from it, was highlighted in research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan Management Review. It found that there is a direct correlation between solid big data practices and business performance.

As touched on by Ms Kart from Gartner, there is no point in engaging with information just for the sake of it. The most progressive companies are drilling down into their data, and attempting to find insights that can be channe​lled back into helping the company perform better.

However, this is certainly easier said than done. One of the best and most effective ways to enhance a company's use of big data is to ensure that everyone across the enterprise knows how and why information is important.

Naturally, this means that it's necessary to build in big data ideals into any strategic planning processes and give the wider organisation a collective aim and end-goal when it comes to data use.

The world of big data is set to get more investment, as more organisations seek actionable insights.The world of big data is set to get more investment, as an increasing number of organisations seek actionable insights.

More informed decisions

Findings published by SAS from Institute of Internal Auditors Director of Research Tom Davenport explained that one of the main benefits of up-to-date big data practices is the ability to make better quality decisions.

Moreover, many companies are not only solving existing problems in new and exciting ways by unlocking the hidden value of their information, end goals are being reached more quickly, too.

Ultimately, big data is now too important of an enterprise technology to ignore. Business leaders who are focussed on the wider strategic management of the enterprise will need to align more closely with those in the IT department, giving them the freedom to weave big data into more practices.

Companies that don't manage to adapt to the challenges, or merely see big data as an unnecessary outlay, will soon be left behind their more forward thinking rivals.