"Big data isn't just a buzzword or a passing fad; it is a fundamental, increasingly 'table stakes' capability for companies in all sectors," said Matt Zisow, director of product at online retailer Wayfair, in a recent interview with ZDNet. "If you're not actively investing in your company's ability to gather and harness your data in ways that matter to your customers, you're almost certainly falling behind your competition, even if you don't know it."

In a recent survey by Tech Pro Research, respondents reported that their companies are collecting data, mostly to improve products and gauge consumer preferences, but 61% said their company isn't using a big data solution to do it.

SEE: Special report: Turning big data into business insights (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

In the research report resulting from the survey, writer Christine Parizo pointed out that big data solutions are a sizeable investment, requiring the initial platform implementation, plus paying one or more people to turn gathered data into usable insights for the business. Many businesses may not see the value of big data solutions at this point.

Based on responses to the survey, companies appear to be satisfied with their data collection tactics, even if they aren't cutting-edge. Among respondents from companies collecting data by any method, the majority rated their systems as 'good', 'very good', or 'excellent' at generating business insights. A majority also rated those insights as 'average', 'easy', or 'very easy' to act on.

The infographic below contains important findings from the survey. For more results and analysis, read the full report, Research: How big data is driving business insights in 2017 (Tech Pro Research subscription required).

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 Image: Erik Underwood/TechRepublic