Broadly speaking, companies today fall into one of three levels of maturity when it comes to their data infrastructure: Primitive, standard, and high-performance.

A primitive infrastructure has little or no dedicated management of the data, is mostly built on excel or other spreadsheets, and is poorly supported.

A standard infrastructure is built on a traditional relational database, with some dedicated resources.

A high-performance environment, on the other hand, is built for scalability, processing extremely large volumes of data, running sophisticated queries on that data, and returning analyses faster in order to make optimal, data-driven decisions.

Aberdeen research shows that Best-in-Class companies (see sidebar) are more than twice as likely as All Others to be running a high-performance data environment. (Figure 1). Over half of Best-in-Class companies (51%) responded that their data environment is high-performance, while only about one fifth (19%) of All Others are operating with a high-performance data environment.

Figure 1: Best-in-Class Companies Lean Toward a High-Performance Data Environment

The question is, why?

To begin with, Best-in-Class companies are generally more technically sophisticated. They are naturally more likely to use technologies like AI and machine learning, search-based analytics, and real-time data integration.

Additionally, Best-in-Class companies have more intense requirements in their data environment. They are 50% more likely than All Others to have a total data environment greater than 1 Petabyte, and 30% more likely to have their largest data set be greater than 1 Terabyte.

Finally, Best-in-Class companies typically have a shorter decision window. These top companies are almost twice as likely to report requiring information in real time or near-real time.


Top companies, partly out of necessity, and partly out of a propensity for more sophisticated technology, are more likely to employ a high-performance data environment. While this isn’t the only factor that drives performance, these companies enjoy broader visibility into their data environment, greater user satisfaction when it comes to accessing data, and more significant revenue growth.

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