The rapid adoption of big data analytics into virtually every aspect of business has occurred at breakneck speed over the past five to 10 years. New technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, are helping executives transform corporate functions, drive more sales growth, and improve the efficiency of the customer journey.

In spite of all the progress made, the latest research suggests that most companies are failing to capitalize on their analytical efforts and insights. In fact, a recent Deloitte survey of U.S. executives found that only 10 percent of companies are “competing on their analytical insights” and 62 percent of respondents said their companies still use spreadsheets for analyzing data. Wow!

A recent MIT Sloan Management Review article, by Babson College professor of Information Technology and Management Thomas H. Davenport and Deloitte’s Nitin Mittal and Irfan Saif, looked at why this is happening. According to the article, “Few companies have truly evolved into organizations driven by analytics and data.” The reasons for this varies from low executive adoption to siloed data analytics usage across the company to a reliance on limited data types that leave out critical unstructured data sources, such as customer comments and reviews.

To help overcome these challenges and raise your competitive position with better use of data analytics and smarter decision making, the article offers up some great advice, including:

  • Aim high for analytics champions. Analytics adoption starts at the top with the CEO. According to the Deloitte survey, when CEOs lead the charge on analytics adoption, their companies are 77 percent more likely to exceed their business goals.
  • Spread analytical talent broadly across an organization. Instead of relying on a select group of analytical experts, leaders should spread analytics responsibility “across organizational lines” to reduce siloed efforts and localized management.
  • Implement individual performance assessments tied to analytics. Incentivize analytics adoption by employees with rewards for “data-oriented ingenuity and risk-taking” and build a culture that respects “honorable failure.”

If you can get these and other aspects of your big data analytics efforts right, you can reap the benefits that analytics leaders typically achieve, according to the Deloitte survey. These benefits include:

  • 70 percent of companies at which a specific analytics/innovation team is responsible for analytics insights exceeded goals
  • 57 percent of companies at which key members of each team/business unit are responsible for analytics insights exceeded goals
  • 82 percent of companies at which all employees are responsible for analytics insights exceeded goals

If you’d like to learn more, read the complete MIT Sloan Management Review article.

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