Business resiliency gaps wider than anticipated, study reveals

New data collected from SAS’ resiliency assessment tool identifies speed and agility as executives’ biggest resiliency challenges

Executives across industries are aware their organizations are not as resilient as they need to be, citing speed and agility as the biggest issue, followed closely by challenges in creating a culture of data literacy. These are among the new findings from AI and analytics leader SAS’ resiliency assessment tool, an online instrument enabling business leaders to appraise their companies’ resiliency. Participants also demonstrated that, while a “resiliency gap” may still exist in their organizations, many are taking steps to close it.  

Earlier this year, SAS published its global Resiliency Rules report, which analyzed the current state of business resiliency and what steps companies in industries like financial services, retail, manufacturing, health care and government are taking to navigate change and seize opportunity. Since the report was released in March, SAS has collected data from the resilience assessment tool to capture companies’ resiliency over time, based on the five core "resiliency rules" explored in the study.  

 "In the months we’ve spent gathering data using the Resiliency Rules assessment tool we’ve learned organizations are less resilient – especially as it concerns speed and agility – on average than the original Resiliency Rules sample population,” said Jay Upchurch, SAS Executive Vice President and CIO. “Understanding where your organization stands today is the first step in building a strategy to sustain long-term change.”

Resiliency Assessment Tool

The Resiliency Assessment Tool is a free, online assessment enabling business leaders to appraise their own company's resiliency quotient based on the five core resiliency rules explored in the Resiliency Rules survey: Curiosity, Innovation, Speed and Agility, Data Culture and Literacy, and Equity and Responsibility.   

Among the executives who used the Assessment Tool, 39% identified their organizations as low resilience, compared to 26% in the Resiliency Rules sample. Fewer rated themselves as either moderate- or high-resilience. These differences may be because executives at less-resilient organizations were more likely to engage in the Assessment Tool.   

The new data also shows that while about one-third of respondents rate their organizations as strong across the five resiliency rules, 60% of respondents said there is room for improvement or growth in each of these areas. The struggle was greater in two key areas: Speed and Agility and Data Culture and Literacy. However, the organizations also said they were in the process of improving these pieces.

Speed and Agility  

Results from the Assessment Tool suggest speed and agility remains a challenge: Only about one-fifth of Assessment Tool respondents said their organizations are strong in this area, 44% indicated that there is room for improvement, and 33% identified as being on their way, but not quite there yet.   

In the global Resiliency Rules sample, nearly all executives (96%) said speed and agility was a priority. Many were using data and AI to improve in this area, especially at highly resilient organizations: 80% of high-resiliency executives were using data and AI to improve speed and agility versus 69% and 48% of moderate- and low-resiliency executives, respectively.   

 “Innovation moves at the speed of information,” says Steven Bakalar, Vice President of IT Digital Transformation at Georgia-Pacific and a SAS customer. “And the faster you can acquire, share, and leverage information, the better off you’re going to be. You’ll be developing insights or learnings that then you can translate into actionable steps.”   

Data Culture and Literacy

Executives using the Assessment Tool also said Data Culture and Literacy remains a struggle: 40% of respondents said there is room for improvement in this area, with an additional 29% saying they were on their way, but not there yet.   

Data Culture and Literacy was an area of focus in Resiliency Rules, with high-resiliency executives more likely to believe prioritizing data is important to their company’s culture (88%) compared to moderate- (59%) and low-resiliency (24%) executives. These executives also cited data scientist shortages at their companies, especially those most interested in resilience: 56% of executives with a strong interest in resiliency identified a data scientist shortage versus just 35% who didn’t rate resiliency as important.   

“To be resilient in the face of disruptions, organizations are investing in core data science across business units,” says Gautam Khera, industry consultant and advanced manufacturing executive. “This enables them to predict what’s needed for that organization, whether manufacturing a widget, developing supply chain, or trying to understand customer response. Having that flow of data and teams of people – engineers, citizen scientists, business analysts and data scientists – enabled and ready is really the key to being resilient.”  

Executives who are struggling in this area can also seek out software and services that bridge the gap, so their business users gain as much value out of data and AI/analytics as data scientists.  

Unlocking Resiliency

The Resiliency Assessment Tool is still available for executives interested in gauging their organization’s resilience. To access it and read the full Resiliency Rules report, visit

About SAS

SAS is a global leader in data and AI. With SAS software and industry-specific solutions, organizations transform data into trusted decisions. SAS gives you THE POWER TO KNOW®.

Editorial contacts:

SAS CTO Bryan Harris on digital transformation and using analytics for resilience.

Georgia Pacific on structure and resiliency in manufacturing.

You can build resiliency in your organization by focusing on these five rules.

Explore the survey data in this handy dashboard.