More than half of organisations say analytics makes them more innovative, according to a SAS survey
72 per cent recognise the benefits of analytics but only 39 per cent use it to inform strategy
Nearly three-quarters of organisations (72 per cent) claim that analytics helps them generate valuable insight and 60 per cent say their analytics resources have made them more innovative, according to research commissioned by SAS, the leader in analytics.
That is despite only four in 10 (39 per cent) saying that analytics is core to their business strategy. A third of respondents (35 per cent) report that it is used for tactical projects only. Despite acknowledged value – and most (65 per cent) can quantify this - businesses are not getting the most out of their analytics investments.
However, they are now pursuing rapid analytical insight as a priority as they push into emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT).
The research, “Here and Now: The need for an analytics platform”, surveyed analytics experts, and IT and line-of-business professionals in a wide range of industries around the world. It found that analytics is changing the way companies do business. This does not just apply to day-to-day operations as it’s also driving innovation - more than a quarter (27 per cent) say analytics has helped launched new business models. There are many identified benefits of an analytics platform, the most common being less time spent on data preparation (46 per cent), smarter and more confident decision-making (42 per cent) and faster time-to-insights (41 per cent).
“The findings show a strong desire in the business community to boost competitive insight and efficiency using analytics,” said Adrian Jones, Director of SAS’ Global Technology Practice. “The majority recognise that effective analytics could benefit their organisations, particularly as they develop their ability to deploy cutting-edge AI. But the number of those effectively using analytics strategically across the organisation could be much higher.”
The survey underscored a lack of alignment in the skills and leadership needed to maximise the potential of analytics. Many companies struggle to manage multiple analytics tools and data management processes.
“If they are to achieve success, organisations must put analytics at the heart of strategic planning and empower analytics resources to drive innovation using a unified analytics platform,” said Jones.
Views differ on the role of an analytics platform: most (61 per cent) believe it’s to extract insight and value from data, but many are split on its other purposes or benefits, such as better governance over data, predictive models and open source technology. Fifty-nine per cent believe another role of an analytics platform is to have an integrated or centralised data framework, while 43 per cent believe it’s to provide modelling and algorithms for AI and machine learning.
The responses suggest companies know analytics can help them, but they lack a clear and common understanding of the benefits of using a platform approach across the enterprise and the analytics lifecycle. It would explain why few organisations have a suitable platform in place according to results from SAS’ Enterprise AI Promise Study announced at Analytics Experience Amsterdam last year. This revealed only a quarter (24 per cent) of businesses felt they had the right infrastructure in place for AI, while the majority (53 per cent) felt they either needed to update and adapt their current platform or had no specific platform in place to address AI.
Despite the wide variety of uses for analytics, confidence in the end result is high. Respondents on average have 70 per cent confidence that they can derive business value from their data through analytics. Those that invest in data science talent are more likely to see ROI: confidence rises to 72 per cent for those in analytics roles but drops to 65 per cent for standard IT teams.
The same is true when considering the future. Analytics teams are more confident (66 per cent) of their ability to scale to meet future analytics workloads, compared to those in standard IT roles (59 per cent).
“When we speak with business leaders who are scaling up to use analytics and AI strategically, challenges they commonly identify are the need for an enterprise analytics platform and access to talent with data science and analytics skills,” said Randy Guard, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at SAS.
“With AI now top-of-mind for many organisations, it’s more important than ever to have a powerful, streamlined analytics capability,” said Guard. “AI can only be as effective as the analytics behind it, and as analytical workloads increase, a comprehensive platform strategy is the best way to ensure success at scale.”
Today's announcement was made at the Analytics Experience conference in Milan, a business technology conference presented by SAS that brings together thousands of attendees on-site and online to share ideas on critical business issues.
The research report ‘Here and Now: The need for an analytics platform’ is the result of a two-part research process. The first phase consisted of in-depth interviews with professionals in 132 business and government organisations across EMEA. These discussions were based on a common set of 15 questions asked of analytics business sponsors, IT decision-makers, heads of analytics and data scientists. The findings from this phase then informed the second part of the research, an online global survey of 477 qualified participants.
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