In 2018, executives have a lot on their to-do lists, and many new technologies to consider – from data analytics to blockchain to artificial intelligence. But are they turning buzzwords into business success?
Companies need a robust analytical approach to inform strategic decisions, drive business value and reduce the uncertainty that accompanies innovation. However, only 18 percent of business leaders said their organizations are getting a sufficient return on their investment in analytics, according to a research report we sponsored by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, “Uncovering the Keys to Becoming Truly Analytics-Driven.”
Moreover, respondents indicated there are four significant challenges to using analytics effectively:
- Communication of results and integration into decision-making: 54% of respondents said one significant obstacle to driving business value through analytics stems from not integrating analytics into workflows and ensuring that the results reach decision-makers.
- Inadequate skills to interpret and apply analytics in business contexts: There may be no shortage of technical skills – among technical staff. But 45% of respondents indicated another significant challenge to using analytics effectively is lack of skills for interpreting and using analytics among business staff.
- Siloed analytics and competing results: 41% of respondents said issues arise when analytics are conducted in departmental siloes, as different teams may use different methodologies to answer their business questions. This fragmented approach can produce conflicting results, making it difficult for decision-makers to understand which answer is the “right” one.
- Time lag: 31% of respondents indicated analytics results arrive too late for decisions and actions at hand. If data-driven insights are not available at the speed of decision-making, they will not be taken into account.
So, how can companies blow past these barriers?
- Use software platforms like Test & Learn to make it easier to share analytics outputs. If analytics are not institutionalized as a part of decision-making practices, results will not reach the right stakeholders, making it impossible to influence strategy.
- Implement user-friendly analytical tools that don’t require a Ph.D. in statistics, empowering staff to interpret and effectively apply insights to critical business decisions.
- Standardize data access to provide teams with the insights they need to conduct analyses and inform decision-making in real-time.
Analytics, while a buzzword—and one that I used 16 times in this article—is the key to a future-forward, data-driven business. I think we can all agree that that’s action worth taking.
For more insights and stats, check out the full study here.