Big data, analytics: Ticket to strategic relevance for CIOs

SAS and leading research firm find unprecedented opportunity for CIOs to drive business with big data

Big data is a big opportunity for CIOs. An IDC white paper released in December, The CIO’s Chance of a Lifetime: Using Big Data and Analytics as the Ticket to Strategic Relevance, reveals that today’s data-intensive world provides CIOs the opportunity to support business objectives in a strategic, outcome-oriented way. Sponsored by SAS, the study surveyed 578 IT, line of business and analytics managers and executives.

Although big data and analytics are fundamentally transforming business, many respondents struggle to calculate – or even articulate – their value. While 95 percent saw benefits from analytics, only 31 percent could actually measure that value.

A disconnect exists between IT and lines of business (LOBs). IT is frequently seen as a roadblock rather than an enabler to analytics, leading LOBs to develop workarounds and “shadow IT” approaches. Specifically:

  • LOBs see faster time to ROI from analytics than IT.
  • LOBs are actively working with chief analytics officers, while IT is less connected.
  • IT is less involved in setting analytics strategy than it believes.
  • LOBs are less satisfied with their collaboration with IT than the reverse.

“Individual departments are gathering data and using departmental analysts to cobble together some semblance of an analytics strategy,” said Tony Hamilton, global marketing consultant at SAS. “But this approach fails to achieve a single customer view or an accurate assessment of where the business is and where it needs to go.

“When IT and business align, wonderful insights emerge. And when you distribute and scale those insights in the right context to the right recipients, new business opportunities arise. The CIO has a fantastic opportunity to lead both the business and technical conversations, allocating proper resources and establishing an enterprise-wide approach to gathering data, integrating it and ensuring its integrity.”

Analytics finding a home – but not in IT

Some 38 percent of organizations said the majority of their analytics staff reside in a centralized analytics group outside IT – that figure would have been close to zero five years ago – with 21 percent saying that group primarily determines analytics strategy.

Organizational culture a stumbling block

The survey also found that the culture of an organization creates significant stumbling blocks. Organizations must overcome resistance by top management, organizational silos and the IT-business disconnect to maximize the benefits of analytics.

IT part of the problem, not the solution

There were large differences between LOB and IT viewpoints when it came to how helpful IT is in the analytic process. Specifically there was a 14 percent variation between IT and LOB respondents as to whether IT is the primary analytics strategy developer. IT was 10 percent more satisfied with collaboration around analytics than LOB. Perhaps most tellingly, nearly twice as many IT respondents believe IT decides on analytics project funding.

For more information on how big data and analytics can drive CIO value, read: http://www.sas.com/en_us/offers/14q1/cio-chance-lifetime/register.html.

Today's announcement was made at SAS Global Forum, the world's largest gathering of SAS users, attended by more than 4,500 business and IT users of SAS software and solutions. Select sessions and keynotes from the user conference will be live streamed.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 70,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976 SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW® .

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