Big data projects planned in the boardroom for 2017

A big data drive has been highlighted in a new report from MHR Analytics, which examines the attitudes of 300 UK C-level executives across multiple business functions.

It has revealed that the top three drivers for big data projects are sales and revenue growth, cost reduction and efficiency savings, and the need to improve customer intelligence.

Sales, marketing and finance departments are leading the big data push, with almost half of companies planning projects in these three areas.

In addition, 39% of companies are planning a big data project in operations and 34% will implement an HR big data project in 2017.

>See also: Big data predictions: what does 2017 have in store?

However, the research also showed that companies still have a long way to go, with 39% of C-suite executives reporting that most of their data is held on spreadsheets, with analytics mainly used for one-off requests and reactive reporting.

Boardroom executives report that their biggest analytics challenge is the effective upskilling of staff, followed by developing a coherent data analytics strategy for the whole business and managing business intelligence initiatives by individual department heads.

Indeed, 70% of C-level executives said they are struggling to upskill employees effectively to maximise return on investment (ROI) for business intelligence tools.

On top of this, 39% of C-suite executives were able to strongly agree with the statement, “our customer data is accurate and up-to-date”, and just 42% are very confident that their business is able to quickly respond to short term economic volatility and changing market conditions.

Nick Felton, director of MHR Analytics was encouraged by the report and said it was good to see “big data being given priority in the boardroom”. He did also mention the skills gap that report highlighted and that this was worrying. “Perhaps most worrying is that less than half of businesses say they are able to respond to short term economic volatility.”

>See also: 10 predictions for the Internet of Things and big data in 2017

“With the latest Supreme court ruling on Brexit, it is clear that uncertainty is going to be the new business norm for the next 12 months and beyond. It is vital that investment in business intelligence tools is matched by training for employees. In many cases, it can require a cultural shift for organisations to embrace business analytics and this needs to come from the top down.”

“An analytics-driven culture requires employees who are passionate and skilled in exploring data and content. These users must understand the implications of critical data points and apply insight to every task. If the CEO is seen to sponsor the programme, or the role of the chief analytics officer (CAO) or chief data officer (CDO) has been established, then the programme is much more likely to succeed.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...