Business focused data and analytics

Is data really the new oil - and how are organisations using business analytics as a strategic asset?

The MIT Sloan Management Review has published its 2016 report into how businesses are applying data analytics for business benefit.  The research captured insights from over 2000 respondents from all types of organisations from around the world. 

The report defines analytics as:

the use of data and related business insights developed through applied analytical disciplines (for example, statistical, contextual, quantitative, predictive, cognitive, and other models) to drive fact-based planning, decisions, execution, management, measurement, and learning.

The report finds that although the value of data is appreciated, in reality many organisations and individuals struggle to take advantage of ever-increasing amounts of data.

Key findings

  • Competitive advantage of analytics is actually declining – over the last two years, the percentage of companies reporting competitive advantage with analytics has declined.  This is because the increased adoption of analytics has removed the competitive advantage enjoyed by early adopters while many organisations are still at early stages of their analytics initiatives.
  • However, optimism about the potential of analytics remains strong – organisations are optimistic about the potential benefits of analytics.
  • Competitive advantage requires commitment and wide-ranging changes in organisational behaviour – including 'revamping information management'
  • A strategic plan for analytics is a key component of corporate success with analytics
  • A successful analytics programme requires investment and a commitment to cultural change that most companies are not prepared for.

Key success factors

  • A strategic plan for analytics
  • A data audit to identify existing data sets
  • Information management viewed as an organisational goal
  • Senior management must signal the importance of analytics to the workforce
  • Managers encouraged to make decisions by blending analytics with intuition

The full report is available for download here.