IT and the Lost Data Analytics Opportunity

Michael Vizard
Slide Show

Business Analytics: Shifting Hindsight to Insight and Foresight

Highlights from a study conducted by Deloitte on use of business analytics.

For all the potential that data analytics can offer, one of the biggest challenges facing most IT organizations is getting business users to understand these tools' real value.

In fact, a new survey of 1,900 business and technology executives conducted by Deloitte Consulting found that one-third of the executives surveyed were not even sure they had access to data analytics software and that half of them were struggling to overcome siloed approaches to data management

According to John Lucker, a principal with Deloitte Consulting, there are really two core issues that limit the adoption of data analytics software. The first is that business users don't see the value because no one has shown them what these tools can really do. Many times, the IT folks think their job ends with organizing the data. They then hand off analysis tools to end users who lack the skills to effectively use them.

Lucker says that if business users are to really value what IT can do for them, the IT organization will have to start running reports about trends that provide new insights into the business. All too often, says Lucker, business executives are making decisions based on assumptions. Data analytics can bring more science to those decision-making processes, he said.

The second issue is more technical. Lucker says too many IT organizations are overly obsessed with data quality. Before any analytics can be done, too many of them are scrubbing data for every single anomaly. While data quality is a noble goal, says Lucker, there comes a point where the law of diminishing returns starts to kick in. Usually, the statistical base of information that needs to be analyzed is deep enough to overcome a few anomalies when trying to identify broader trends and patterns. In other words, not every piece of data needs to be perfect before analytics tools can add value to the business.

Data analytics offers IT organizations a chance to fundamentally change their role in the business, says Lucker. Rather than just being the organization that stores and manages information, IT can contribute in a meaningful way to the business. That's assuming the IT leadership is ready and willing to take on this challenge.

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