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The Analytics Era Arrives at Scale

Industry leaders discuss the future of advanced analytics in light of new research

On Friday June 16, 2017, Forbes Insights and Dun & Bradstreet released an illuminating new research study, “Analytics Accelerates Into the Mainstream,” which revealed significant use of advanced analytics across the enterprises surveyed. Released at an industry event in New York City, the study spotlighted how senior business executives were exploring ways in which their organizations could respond to competitive, economic, and human ramifications.

Bruce Rogers, Chief Insights Officer of Forbes Insights, shared his opinion that analytics is squarely on the minds of global business leaders. “I have the great fortune to have conversations with heads of companies, CMOs and CEOs, all over the world in the work that I do. Invariably, data analytics is at the top of those conversations. It's a C-suite discussion,” stated Rogers.

The research supported Rogers' assumption. Of those surveyed, 71% said that 50% or more of their business decisions include analytics. Adding to the generally positive outlook that 42% of respondents felt strongly (rating 8, 9, or 10) that their companies had properly organized analytics functions within their enterprises, event panelist Wagner Vagar of HSBC shared how the global banking behemoth has deployed analytics. “In an organization like ours, we use data across the strategic spectrum. We use data analytics on different levels and adoption is widespread across the organization,” said Vagar.

During a robust panel discussion, Chris Corinaldi of Fundation shared how critical it is for analytics teams to have a diverse skill set. “You always want to have business people who have a really good understanding of data, analytics, and data science. And so, our team has a blend of skills. When the data isn't perfect, you're kind of interpreting it. That takes data scientists working with business people who understand the data. And that's a critical part of success. If you're going to be successful, you're going to have to have that close combination of skills,” Corinaldi said.

One of the prevailing themes of the event was the criticality of accurate and accessible data needed to power effective analytics. “Data quality is really a key impediment for analytics whenever you don't have finely tuned data integration – it can be a real challenge,” Vagar asserted. “There's so much data that we can access, either internally or externally, and being able to aggregate it in an efficient way is really the key aspect to delivering advanced analytics performance.”

During the panel discussion, numerous executives shared stories about the need for analytics teams to empower their business leader counterparts. The consensus was that managing executives are hungry for better decision making data but need guidance and collaboration to derive meaning and create impact. The dialogue brought context to a key point that Dun & Bradstreet Chief Analytics Officer Nipa Basu shared earlier in the morning. “The thing that I have to focus on with all these great learnings is are we able to utilize them?” she posited. “Are the practitioners able to influence the business users to take action?”

Summarizing the growing influence of business intelligence in the enterprise, Rogers encapsulated the new analytics landscape by saying, “The difference is that data and analytics is the business, not just a support function. That means a whole cultural change is needed.”

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