Data analytics stuck at the digital disruption crossroads

20 Dec 2016315 Shares

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The digital disruption promised by data-driven analytics is stuck at a crossroads. Image: Trial/Shutterstock

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While IT decision-makers claim to be highly data-driven, their organisations are not and data analytics is underutilised, a new PwC study reveals.

PwC’s annual Big Decision Survey focuses on how enterprises around the world are limiting risk and leveraging data to make the big decisions that will give them a competitive edge.

It studied more than 2,100 company decision-makers across 15 industries worldwide.

‘While human judgement and gut feel will always be part of the mix, key decisions in today’s disruptive world need the forward-looking precision and risk awareness that data and analytics can provide’
– RICHARD DAY

It found that less than a third of companies use predictive analytics.

“Data is an extremely under-leveraged asset within most organisations, and a company’s capability to access the right data at the right time can make or break the bottom line,” said PwC Ireland data analytics partner Darren O’Neill.

“The survey suggest that leaders are stuck at a crossroads, with 28pc of decision-makers polled stating that they are just trying to survive in a state of disruption. Given the anticipated impact of each big decision on shareholder value, the stakes are high.

The survey clearly calls out that the often unrealised value of data can be used to lower the inherent risk in decision-making to become more agile and increasingly competitive.”

Surviving in a state of disruption

More than a quarter say they are just trying to survive in a state of disruption.

The biggest issues facing decision-makers are: launching new products and services (31pc), entering new markets (17pc) and investing in IT (15pc).

However, when it comes to launching new products and services, while 40pc of respondents say they are highly data-driven, only 30pc use predictive analytics.

With the big decision of entering into new markets, nearly half (48pc) of respondents say they are highly data-driven, but again, only 30pc use predictive analytics.

And finally, when it comes to big IT decisions, 40pc of respondents say they are highly data-driven.

While these data-driven companies are ready to compete, executives want decision-making to be faster, especially in banking, insurance, and healthcare. But decision-makers say there’s even more work to be done on sophistication.

More than a third (41pc) of leaders say big decisions will require analysis using machine algorithms.

“According to the survey, a significant proportion of respondents report not to be highly data-driven when it comes to important decisions, and less than a third rely on predictive analytics,” said Richard Day, data services partner at PwC Ireland.

“This is worrying. While human judgement and gut feel will always be part of the mix, key decisions in today’s disruptive world need the forward-looking precision and risk awareness that data and analytics can provide. Important decisions will only become more complex, but if you get your data to work for you, you will realise the benefits.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com