The market is thinking about big data the wrong way. Mastering it is not a one-and-done project, and it’s certainly not a challenge that can be solved with an off-the-shelf technology solution. Vendors need the market to believe this because big data is a complex challenge that businesses need to address now. What simpler way than trying to solve it with a single platform . . . that has an exorbitant price tag?

So what is big data, and how should companies be approaching their treasure chest of customer insights?

Forrester contends it is the practices that close the gap between available data and business insight. Just bridging this gap means moving forward on the big data innovation path.

Today’s reality however, paints a different picture. Many vendors push to sell their product as the big data solution, ignoring the fact that big data is a perpetually changing process. Marketers are urged not to wait for their IT department, and vice versa, leading the CIO down an IT agenda path, without thinking of the larger business strategy or needs.

Firms need to get smart on big data washing — and fast — or else risk waking up to a reality where their competitors have moved faster, been more future-looking, and haven’t stopped innovating with data.

To learn more about this research, visit the Customer Intelligence blog.