A new study by Forbes Insights and Dun & Bradstreet has highlighted the increasingly imperative role that analytics play in driving today’s core enterprise business activities, from strategy to operations.
No longer considered nice-to-have, the study, available today, showcases the critical need for immediate investment, prioritisation and implementation of analytics within companies. Based on a survey of more than 300 senior executives in North America, Britain, and Ireland, the report underscores that corporate leadership needs to invest in the people, processes and technologies that empower decision support and decision automation.
“This study underlines the need for continued focus and investment,” said Bruce Rogers, chief insights officer at Forbes Media. “Without sophisticated analysis of quality data, companies risk falling behind.”
“All analytics are not created equal,” said Nipa Basu, chief analytics officer, Dun & Bradstreet. “This report shows a critical opportunity for companies to both create a solid foundation of comprehensive business data – master data – and to utilise the right kind of advanced analytics. Those that haven’t yet begun to prioritise implementation of advanced analytics within their organisations will be playing catch-up for a long while, and may never fully recover.”
Tools and best practices needed
Despite the growth in consumption and use of data, there is surprisingly little sophistication in how data is analysed. 23% of those surveyed are still using spreadsheets as their primary means for data work.
17% are solely using dashboards that go little beyond spreadsheets. While only 41% use predictive models and/or advanced analytical and forecasting techniques, even more astonishing, 19% of respondents use no analytical tools more complicated than basic data models and regressions.
The need for better data
Twenty-four percent cited data quality and accuracy as a major obstacle to the success of their analytics efforts. Only 42% of analysts and users of data in marketing reported they were confident in the quality of their data.
Among all functions working with third parties, 52% said they use third-party data partners to help them fill in gaps with their own data, demonstrating issues with data quality across all business units.
Lack of skills impeding analytics success
27% cited skills gaps as a major blocker to their current data and analytics efforts. Fifty-two percent reported working with third-party data vendors to address this very lack of skills.
A further 55% of those surveyed said that third-party analytics partners execute work of higher quality than analytics work completed in-house, showing both a dearth of analytics excellence among in-house analysts and a shortage of skilled workers.
Lack of investment
Survey respondents listed lack of budget and issues with technology as the top impediments to achieving their data strategies. While business use of data is growing, investment in skilled personnel and technology is falling behind.
CFOs look to data for strategic insight
63% of those in the finance function said they are using data and analytics to find opportunities to fund business growth, while 60% of respondents said they use data to help drive long-term strategic planning.
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