Deloitte recently compiled a survey of 500 mid-size companies in the USA to understand the top technology trends affecting their business. Almost half of the respondents (48%) said that technology was a critical differentiator and key to growth.
As a proponent of big data and analytics I was very interested to see if either of these technologies were highlighted in their findings and I wasn’t disappointed as analytics came out high on the list.
The recent rise of big data saw an almost paralleled rise in analytics tools and services. More than 80% of the respondents in this Deloitte survey said their company was using analytics. While 80% of respondents were using analytics, only 10% had deployed analytics throughout the organisation.
On one level I understand these figures; companies are testing the water trying to understand if analytics work in their environment, unfortunately using this approach doesn’t always prove its worth.
Analytics comes to the fore when disparate items of information are brought together and insight gained from seemingly unconnected data. The obvious example here is when Google analysed social media data to track flu outbreaks in 2009, and tweets saying that a neighbourhood basketball match had been moved to another area because of local sickness became fleetingly important. While Google Flu is a bit of a “headline” event it does demonstrate the art of the possible; UK healthcare is now beginning to appreciate the possibility of combining health and non-healthcare data in an effort to spot trends and occurrences.
Most respondents were piloting analytics or in the early stages of using the tools. The biggest hurdles for these deployments all had to do with data collection and standardisation — not a huge surprise.
Of the 13.2% that said their company wasn’t using analytics, the top two reasons given were “Our company is not at the scale or maturity level where we can benefit from analytics” and “Not sure where to begin to capture the most value.”
Again, I understand what they are saying but, in both quoted instances, I would recommend talking to someone who knows about this stuff – not mature or big enough is not really a good reason as your competition will be using analytics to create a business advantage so at some stage you will need to do something and better to have something in place by design rather than retro fitted.
As for “not sure where to begin”, investing a little on consultancy now will likely pay off in the future. If you would like to explore the potential of your data, please get in touch through the comments section below.