Uncovering Gaps and Trends in Big Data Services: Mu Sigma’s “State of Analytics and Decision Science” Report

  • BLOG
  • July 29th, 2019

Have you ever thought about where and how your business may be falling short when leveraging big data analytics to positively affect company growth and profitability? Would knowledge of this information change the way your company makes future business decisions?

To help understand such gaps, Mu Sigma recently surveyed executives at large U.S. enterprises across a variety of industries, each of whom lead or heavily influence data and analytics decisions. The findings are detailed in our “State of Analytics and Decision Science”report to examine priorities as well as deficiencies in today’s approaches to big data services.

Today, a majority of senior business leaders believes big data analytics affect company performance in a positive way. However, our findings show that many companies are, in fact, going about analytics the wrong way by prioritizing data and technology needs over the need for better decision making. And, they’re falling short in analytics because they aren’t paying enough attention to creative problem solving.

Organizations are leading with data instead of outcomes. Seventy-four percent of respondents indicate they lead with the data that is available to them, when approaching a business problem, while only 26 percent plan their data analytics solutions first with the desired outcomes that they have in mind.

To understand how organizations can get more creative in their approaches to problem solving and analytics, let’s explore the key findings of the report.

Top Challenges in Data Analytics Services

The data and analytics domain is constantly changing, opening up new problems and issues. These challenges begin to arise as companies become more reliant on analytics to inform their decision-making. On top of the typical issues of data quality, consistency and usability, businesses are referencing talent shortages and lack of training as top obstacles. Our report found that:

  • Thirty-four percent of respondents noted data quality, consistency and availability are the most important issues plaguing their analytics initiatives.
  • Issues related to a dearth in available skills, whether due to talent shortages or lack of training, were the second-highest challenge (30 percent) faced by companies.
  • Underperforming data analytics companies are twice as likely to identify skill set deficiencies as their most pressing challenge in analytics.
  • Business acumen and communication skills are two of the top three skill set domains where businesses see the need for improvement.

It’s the Wild West When it Comes to Analytics Governance

In today’s business environment, there is no clear answer for who “owns” data and analytics. Responsibility of big data services and solutions are widely shared among the C-suite – Chief Information Officers (CIO), Chief Analytics Officers (CAO), Chief Marketing Officers (CMO) and Chief Data Officers (CDO), among others.

The type of governance model used by any given company also depends on the person responsible for the data and analytics. While most organizations aspire to a centralized shared big data services function, surprisingly fewer are adopting a federated model that combines the benefits of both centralized and decentralized models.

Even if CIOs are more likely to lead centralized models by following a construct they’re comfortable with in traditional IT environments, a majority (45 percent) of companies expect to choose a centralized approach when looking to change their governance and organization of analytics.

There is a concentrated effort to corral analytics into centralized bodies, despite the reputation of many shared services functions as not being agile enough for the lines of business they serve.

The Time is Now for a New Art of Problem Solving

Organizations today don’t approach big data analytics with the same rigor as more mature disciplines, as 39% of respondents don’t follow a consistent problem solving methodology.

But, as many as 41 percent are beginning to understand the importance of analytics and recognize that their ability to drive actionable insights out of analytics could vastly improve. By seeking a more creative approach to problem solving, decision makers are increasingly recognizing the need for more collaboration in the analytics domain. They are increasingly seeking out for big data consulting services and data science consulting.

Download your copy of our “State of Analytics and Decision Science” report to get access to our insights about the priorities, approaches, and gaps to analytics and problem solving.