Is your business positioned for the analytics advantage?

Short Takes...on Analytics

A blog by Tom Davenport, Independent Senior Advisor, Deloitte Analytics

Across virtually all industries and sectors, the message from Deloitte’s recent Analytics Advantage survey is clear: The application and importance of analytics is expected to grow.  In fact 96 percent of survey respondents believe their use of analytics will increase over the next 3 years.

But what obstacles can you expect to face in the successful application of your analytics program and where do other organizations sit on the analytics spectrum?

The Analytics Advantage survey used interviews across 75 organizations in North America, China and the UK to assess the current state of analytics. Participants largely agreed that the data held within their organization could play an important role in driving business strategy – if it could be used effectively.

Data continues to be a sticking point with analytics, however.. Most managers agree about the need for a better understanding about the technologies available to capture, analyze and turn data into meaningful insight. But the desire for better analytics technology has not yet translated into better data. Only 34 percent of respondents categorized the quality of their data today as “good” or “excellent.” (tweet this) This lack of quality data and the IT infrastructure to properly capture and utilize that data, are major barriers to overcome.

Respondents identified senior management support as one factor slowing analytics adoption. While 100 percent of organizations surveyed have at least one analytics supporter among the management team, many executives still need to be won over. This may be due in part from the vast differences among organizations in the ownership of the data analytics team. This responsibility varied widely across respondents, from the CEO to business unit heads -- or even “no single executive” having responsibility. Overall, the survey points to a leadership vacuum for analytics in many organizations.

The survey showed that the structure of analytics capabilities is remarkably different from one organization to the next. Some businesses have centralized departments that provide insight to all business divisions. Others have analytics specialists in each business unit focusing on that unit only. It seems there is no right or wrong approach, but the lack of consistency may be a potential hurdle in the analytics journey.

Recruiting and retaining the right people with the right skills is imperative. Only 22 percent of organizations surveyed believe they are in good shape talent-wise, possessing human resources with the right skill levels to get the job done. Access to the data scientists and quantitative analysts is considered one of the biggest barriers to the successful application of an analytics strategy. It is expected that organizations will become more aggressive in the talent war to close the skills gap.  

Regardless of these barriers, there is little doubt among respondents that the journey is still one worth taking, with the benefits far outweighing the obstacles. They agree that analytics can be used to provide insights for better decision-making. Being able to embed analytics into your organization in any form can increase your competitive advantage and advance your ability to drive key strategic initiatives. The word is out – and the best is yet to come.

Meet the author, Tom Davenport

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