Global businesses are facing increasing complexity and market volatility. In response, all business functions are turning to data-driven analytics and insights as a means to manage this increasing uncertainty, while better understanding their organizations’ customer bases and growing their businesses.
The move to data-driven insights is being forced by continued business reliance on technology and automation throughout the enterprise. Growth in digital technologies is driving the ability to analyze more data. This, in turn, is fueling the enterprise’s appetite for better data, more advanced analytics skills and the implementation of best practices. Analytics is the primary enabler to derive truth and meaning from data that drives the business growth.
In March 2017, Dun & Bradstreet and Forbes Insights explored the current state of analytics adoption across the enterprise via a survey of more than 300 executives in North America, the U.K. and Ireland across a range of industries. A recent report, “Analytics Accelerates Into the Mainstream,” sponsored by Dun & Bradstreet, analyzes the survey results.
Some key findings:
- Senior executives finally understand the value of analytics and are making investments in technology, people and processes.
- Data analytics skills gaps persist across the enterprise, as 27% of analytics professionals surveyed cite this skills gap as a major impediment in their data initiatives.
- Data analytics has moved from IT and finance to the majority of business functions.
- Today’s data-driven enterprise has a never-ending appetite for more data.
- Analytical methods and tools trail both the appetite and ambition of most business leaders: 23% of analytics professionals are still using spreadsheets as their primary tool for data analysis.
- There is a dire need for better data analytics best practices, with 19% using only basic data models and regressions.
- People capital is a major factor for data analytics success.
While data analytics has gone mainstream, the C-suite and senior leadership need to do more to drive the cultural change needed for better utilization of analytics, as 38% of those surveyed say their companies need to do more.
Enterprises that plan to achieve data analytics excellence need to embrace a hybrid expertise model. Of the companies surveyed, 60% are using third parties to support organizational bandwidth while 55% are outsourcing some or all of their analytics needs.
The hybrid expertise model can help enterprises improve the quality of their data analytics, as 55% of those surveyed said that third-party analytics partners execute work of higher quality than analytics work completed in-house.
To move to a data-driven enterprise, business leaders need to do more with all the data their teams are consuming and analyzing. Only 38% of respondents strongly felt that business leaders took full advantage of their analytics initiatives.
Analytics now drives today’s enterprise, from formation of business strategy to powering operational excellence. It has clearly moved from being an optional operational element to serving as the core of corporate activities. It is no longer enough to just employ a few analysts and data scientists and leave them in a silo. Today’s business world demands that analytics best practices, technology, and personnel power every business function, and thus today’s C-suite needs to make the right data investments in these areas.
More important: The C-suite and all business leaders need to spearhead a wholesale cultural change across the enterprise to help drive adoption and utilization of advanced analytics. Data analytics is the new competitive differentiator. Business leaders that grasp this and commit to it will succeed. Those who delay do so at their own risk.