SYDNEY: Companies in Australia and New Zealand have been warned that they are failing to capitalise on the possibilities offered by big data analytics, after new research found only a fifth of the firms have a big data strategy.

Based on the responses of 150 enterprises in both countries, the Forrester Research study for Dell, the US IT firm, found that only 22% of respondents are currently implementing or expanding corporate strategies to harness big data, ZDNet reported.

Even among those using big data, the technology is employed only for very specific purposes, such as fraud detection, compliance, risk management and marketing ROI.

Forrester researcher Tim Sheedy, who presented the findings at the 2014 Dell User Forum A/NZ event in Sydney, expressed surprise that Australia and New Zealand seemed to be so hesitant considering they are both risk-averse economies.

"We tend to make data-centric decisions, so I was surprised that when you're trying to make data-centric decisions, you're not using that data more effectively," he said.

"It's one of the big trends, it's happening everywhere," he continued. "Every day there are more opportunities to analyse data and make better decisions. But I was surprised that more people didn't have a strategy to deal with that."

While companies in the region make good use of other technology, such as cloud infrastructure (81%) and network security software (87%), it appears they're lagging behind other markets when it comes to big data.

IBM recently conducted an international survey of almost 1,500 decision-makers from what it called "pacesetter", or technically advanced, companies and found 70% considered analytics to be an integral part of the decision-making process.

Covering 15 industries in 13 countries, the IBM Business Tech Trends Study also found 60% planned to increase their investment in analytics by more than 10% over the next two years.

Data sourced from ZDNet, IBM; additional content by Warc staff