Analytics: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

The Benefits of Big Data Hindered by Traditional Analytic Approaches

First the good news: A new survey of 600 executives conducted by Accenture in the U.S. and the United Kingdom finds that businesses have a much greater appreciation for analytics than ever before. Two out of three executives report their organizations have appointed a senior executive to be in charge of data and analytics, and overall usage of analytics is up 68 percent.

The bad news is that 58 percent are unclear as to what the business outcomes of those efforts might be and the really ugly bit is that only one out of five said they were satisfied with the results of those efforts.

None of that necessarily means organizations are losing faith in analytics. But Nick Millman, Accenture information management service lead in the UK, says it does suggest that the analytics journey for most organizations is going to be quite long.

Much of the immediate problem, says Millman, stems from the quality of the data organizations have and a lack of analytics skills across the organization. It’s not clear whether organizations are putting chief information officers in charge of fixing that problem or relying more on someone with more expertise about the business. What is clear is that despite poor initial results, organizations are committed to solving the problem.

Ultimately, investing in analytics all comes down to whether the organization as a whole sees the data it collects as a business asset. If data is just a burden to be managed, then all the analytics in the world aren't going to make much of a difference. But if data is the key to attaining a strategic business advantage, then, just like any other business asset, it needs to be sweated.

Of course, you can’t analyze, let alone manage, that which you’re not even sure the organization has actually found. Given those circumstances, the best advice would be to start small with a finite set of data that clearly has value to the business, as opposed to trying to boil an ocean of business data that no one can say with any certainty is actually still relevant to the business.

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