“Big data”—extremely large data sets—draws a lot of attention from companies interested in mining it for patterns and trends. However, advisory and risk management firm DNV GL reports that while 52 percent of companies see it as a business opportunity, only 23 percent have a clear idea of what to do with it.

Drawing from a survey of 1,200 professionals across a number of different industries in Europe, Asia and the Americas, DNV GL’s “Viewpoint Report: Are You Able To Leverage Big Data To Boost Your Productivity and Value Creation,” reveals that 65 percent of companies are planning for a future in which big data plays a significant role and 76 percent plan on maintaining or increasing their investments in the field. While 45 percent of those surveyed see its direct importance to their own businesses, only 25 percent know how to use big data to boost productivity.

“Big data is changing the game in a number of industries, representing new opportunities and challenges,” says Luca Crisciotti, CEO of DNV GL – Business Assurance. “I believe that companies that recognize and implement strategies and plans to leverage the information in their data pools have increased opportunities to become more efficient and meet their market and stakeholders better.”

DNV GL did find that all of the companies in its survey that had applied big data techniques to their businesses reported positive results. Benefits noted included increased efficiency (23 percent), better business decision making (16 percent), improved customer experience and engagement (16 percent), financial savings (11 percent) and improved relations with other stakeholders (nine percent).

Click here for DNV GL’s full report.