How Analytics Can Propel IT to be the New ‘It’ Group

June 6, 2012
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data propel 150x150 photo (data scientist 2 data analytics business analytics advanced analytics )Some naysayers have predicted that the consumerization of technology would mean the death knell for IT departments – and even the CIOs at some companies.

data propel 150x150 photo (data scientist 2 data analytics business analytics advanced analytics )Some naysayers have predicted that the consumerization of technology would mean the death knell for IT departments – and even the CIOs at some companies.

But, ironically, the tsunami of data flowing into companies that’s generated by their customers, prospects and competitors has buoyed the importance of their IT organizations and opened a huge opportunity for CIOs to bolster the leadership positions of technology within their organizations.

Consider a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers that notes that business analytics can mean that the “IT organization can become the go-to group, and the CIO can become the true information leader,” according to the report. “Although it is a challenge, the new analytics is also an opportunity because it is something within the CIO’s scope of responsibility more than nearly any other development in information technology.”

Furthermore, we’ve recently reported that according to McKinsey & Co., 65% of 1,469 C-level executives say that big data and analytics is either a top corporate, top-three corporate or top-10 corporate priority in their organizations’ strategic agendas.

When it comes to big data, 49% say their companies are focusing their efforts on customer insights, segmentation and targeting to improve overall performance. And while an even higher share say their companies should focus their efforts on using data and analytics to generate these insights, just 20% say their organizations have fully deployed data and analytics to generate insights in one business unit or function.

How can companies take advantage of the burgeoning opportunity big data and analytics provide to enhance IT’s relevance and leadership by generating actionable insight for the lines of business?

PricewaterhouseCoopers has this advice:

  • Enable the data scientists. Companies require a new type of employee who analyzes data with an outcome in mind – much like a traditional scientist tests his hypothesis. Possible outcomes include those that improve revenue, profitability, operations or supply chain efficiency. Some business users have the requisite skills to function as data scientists, while others will need more formal training. Leaders in each business function should be asked where new information insights would pay the highest dividends and who the likely candidates are within their groups to be given access to analytics capabilities.
  • Take a portfolio approach that can encompass the convergence of multiple data sources and multiple tools. Analytics must combine traditional information sources including structured transaction data from ERP and CRM systems with textual information from social media, clickstream transactions, web logs, RFID sensors and other forms of unstructured data for companies to realize the ROI for their efforts to glean new insight into the business.
  • Develop a strategic analytics plan. Identify the users and uses of analytics that have the highest potential for payback. Possible areas include those where the company has struggled, where traditional or nontraditional competition is making inroads and where the data has not been available or granular enough historically.

Next steps:

  • To learn more about how analytics can improve your business and increase your bottom line check out our complimentary “5-Minute Guide to Business Analytics,” to find out how user-driven “analytic” or “data discovery” technologies help business and technology users more quickly uncover insights and speed action.
  • See how Spotfire version 4.5 empowers users to discover actionable insights hidden in big data and unstructured information in our on-demand webcast, “What’s New with Spotfire 4.5.”