Organizations Make Strides in Adoption of Analytics, but Struggle to
Capitalize on Investments, Accenture Research Finds
Only a fifth very satisfied with business outcomes of their analytics efforts
NEW YORK -- March 5, 2013
Organizations are progressing in the adoption of analytics for decision
making, according to new research from Accenture (NYSE: ACN). However, there
is still a prevalent disconnect between analytics capabilities organizations
have built and how successfully they put them to use for business
The survey of 600 executives in the United Kingdom and the United States
revealed that 66 percent of responding companies have appointed senior figures
(e.g. chief data officers) in the last 18 months to lead data-management
strategies and policies, as well as to support business growth.
The use of analytics as a primarily predictive tool almost tripled to 33
percent from 12 percent in 2009 when Accenture research revealed that weak
analytics capabilities hindered organizations’ decision-making abilities.
Today, twice as many organizations feel that they are generating new ideas and
opportunities from company data “to a great extent” (25 percent versus 12
percent in 2009).
On the other hand, just over one fifth of respondents (22 percent) said they
are “very satisfied” with business outcomes driven by their analytics
investments to date. Furthermore, only 39 percent of organizations state that
the data they generate is relevant to their business strategies, and only 50
percent say that their data is consistent, accurate, formatted and complete.
“Analytics remains the new kid on the block, but is clearly moving on the
C-suite agenda,” said Narendra Mulani, senior managing director, Accenture
Analytics. “However, although companies are investing in senior resources and
advanced technologies, analytics is not yet deeply ingrained into the fabric
of most companies as an integrated, enterprise-wide approach. For many
organizations the journey to achieving true return on investment still lies
A combined 45 percent of respondents described their analytical capabilities
as either in need of improvement, limited, lacking senior management support
or piecemeal. Another 20 percent of organizations stated they have the
required technical and human resources to apply analytics regularly with some
success, but that the focus tends to be tactical rather than strategic. Only
21 percent of respondents said they routinely use analytics very successfully
as part of an integrated enterprise wide approach.
According to the research, getting the full returns on investments in
analytics is a journey that leads from issues, to insight, to decisions, to
action and ultimately to outcome. But the Accenture Analytics experts also
state that incremental value is to be gained at every step of this journey,
and that organizations should set clear goals for each step they climb, for
example focusing on near-term value so their analytics efforts are self-funded
within the first twelve months.
“Effective analytics programs are built on a three-part foundation,” said
Mulani. “The first is to establish disciplined processes that ensure valuable
insights and recommendations are being generated, acted on, and measured for
effectiveness. Next, companies should use a ‘build, buy and partner’ strategy
to source skills, given the supply constraints. Finally, they must apply
technology that ensures data integrity, quality and accessibility.
Organizations can drive true ROI with analytics on this foundation.”
Other results from the survey include the following:
Significance Organizations Place on Analytics
*68 percent of organizations say their senior management is “highly” or
“totally” committed to analytics and fact-based decision-making.
Demonstrating this commitment, 66 percent lead by example and demand
fact-based decisions, even though this was significantly different in the
US (74 percent) compared to the UK (57 percent).
*Nearly 50 percent of organizations state that their C-suites have asked
for a data-strategy plan that can be shared across the business.
*71 percent of the organizations that have not yet appointed a senior
figure responsible for data-management strategies and policies expect to
do so soon.
*While only 21 percent of respondents said they routinely use analytics
very successfully as part of an integrated enterprise wide approach, this
is a 50 percent increase from 2009 when only 14 percent claimed an
integrated enterprise wide approach for analytics.
Where and How Analytics is Applied
*Respondents see the greatest value in using analytics to help tailoring
products and services to customers. 69 percent use analytics to drive
decision-making in customer acquisition and retention; 66 percent in the
development of new products and services; 60 percent to improve the
*Respondents from all surveyed industries except Financial Services believe
the finance department has the most sophisticated use of analytics.
*Communications & High-tech firms are first among those applying analytics
to analyze their competitors’ activities and performance (68 percent), and
almost half of these firms (42 percent) use analytics for customer
acquisition and retention.
*Sales and marketing are the departments which most frequently set targets
based on analytics, with 33 percent of sales and 30 percent of marketing
teams setting targets “all the time.” Retail companies are front-runners
when it comes to setting targets based on analytics for their sales and
marketing functions (63 percent).
Further Challenges Remain
*Despite progress in building analytics capabilities, senior executives
still rank intuition and experience over facts and complex data analysis
in the decision-making process.
*More than half (58 percent) of organizations state that outcome from data
is their key challenge; 50 percent state data integration and 49 percent
state identifying the insights needed from data.
About the Research
The research, titled “Analytics in Action. Breakthroughs and Barriers on the
Journey to ROI,” was based on telephone interviews with 600 executives at 600
private-sector and public-sector organizations in the United States (300) and
the United Kingdom (300) with more than 1,000 employees. Participants included
directors and key decision makers across a wide range of industries (e.g.
public sector, financial services, resources, communications and high tech,
and retail and manufacturing) and business functions (e.g. sales and
marketing, customer relationship management, human resources and finance).
Interviews were conducted in August and September 2012.
For further research data, click here. Additionally, please click here for an
infographic of research findings.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and
outsourcing company, with approximately 259,000 people serving clients in more
than 120 countries. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive
capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive
research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with
clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. The
company generated net revenues of US$27.9billion for the fiscal year ended
Aug. 31, 2012.Its home page is www.accenture.com.
Jens R. Derksen, + 49 (30) 89047-61393
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