Everyone Wants to be Data-Driven, but Few Want to do the Driving


Analytics-aversed organizations lack dedicated leadership to evangelize and guide their transformation thus inhibiting the goal of being data-driven.

Investments in data analytics are on the rise, as companies recognize these approaches as the only way to compete in the data-driven 2020s. However, many organizations tend to hit roadblocks in their efforts to become data-driven: themselves.

Analytics-adverse cultures are among the challenges cited in a survey of senior data and analytics executives conducted by Wavestone NewVantage Partners, which finds data analytics topping everyone’s to-do lists, but still facing resistance. Part of this challenge is a lack of dedicated leadership to evangelize and guide the transformation.

Support for increased investment in data and analytics is robust. For 2022, 88% of organizations report that investment in data and analytics increased, the survey shows. “This is consistent with the high level of increasing investment in data and analytics over the past several years,” the study’s authors, Tom Davenport and Randy Bean, observe. When asked about continued increase in investment for the coming year, a slightly lower percentage, 84%, indicate their organizations would be increasing investment in data and analytics, in spite of potential economic uncertainty.

Many organizations also intend to ramp up efforts to monetize their data assets. The development of data products was highlighted as the second-highest priority, and 80% plan to increase their investment in data products in 2023. Another 78% plan to increase their investments in artificial intelligence and machine learning.

Still, the survey shows lack of progress in other areas. Only 24% characterize themselves as “data-driven,” and only 21% say that they have developed a “data culture” within their organizations, reflecting no change from surveys in previous years. The human side of data continues to challenge companies, and data leaders and organizations appear slow to transform their corporate culture to better embrace data-driven decision making. For many organizations, it’s still a struggle, Davenport and Bean state. “Investments in data and analytics capabilities and initiatives are greater than ever, but organizations are coming to the growing realization that embedding these capabilities within their firms and transforming the cultures of their organizations will take time.”

Cultural factors continue to be the greatest obstacle to delivering business value from data investments – The vast majority of data leaders – 79% – continue to cite cultural issues — “organizational receptivity to change and business transformation, changes to organizational processes, people and skills, organizational alignment, and communications” – as their greatest obstacles, the study shows.


About Joe McKendrick

Joe McKendrick is RTInsights Industry Editor and industry analyst focusing on artificial intelligence, digital, cloud and Big Data topics. His work also appears in Forbes an Harvard Business Review. Over the last three years, he served as co-chair for the AI Summit in New York, as well as on the organizing committee for IEEE's International Conferences on Edge Computing. (full bio). Follow him on Twitter @joemckendrick.

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