Special Feature

Research: Executive management recognizes business value of analytics

79% of respondents use BI or data analytics tools according to a recent TechRepublic Premium poll.

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Image: iStockphoto/metamorworks

From dashboards to data visualizations -- not to mention descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics -- the enterprise has no shortage of business intelligence and data analytics tools at its disposal.

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Leveraging such tools could make measurable contributions to businesses. For example, companies could maximize an impending opportunity, mitigate future risk, meet deliverable milestones, gain a competitive advantage and much more. 

How are companies translating analytics into actionable information that can be used to make better business decisions? ZDNet's sister site TechRepublic Premium surveyed 161 professionals to find out. 

The survey asked about the type of business intelligence and data analytics companies use and how they are used, the benefits of analytics tools, and any obstacles which have hampered analytics efforts within the company, as well as how well executive management recognizes the business value of analytics.
 
Data analytics is a major driver of corporate success. This will continue in the future, with the majority of respondents (79%) reporting that their companies used analytics. Of the 11% of respondents who said that their company does not use any analytics tools, 21% attributed it to a lack of in-house talent, skill or business knowledge about the tools, and 13% cited budget constraints or lack of executive buy-in as reasons for opting out from using analytics.

More than 40% of respondents reported that their companies primarily use analytics for operational or sales and marketing purposes. Improved strategic decision-making was the biggest benefit of using analytics for the majority (65%) of respondents. Other reported benefits included improved knowledge about customers (45%), operational cost savings (44%) and improved sales (32%). 

SEE: Research: BI and data analytics usage up; but companies lack skills needed to take full advantage of tools (free for TechRepublic Premium)

According to 78% of respondents, dashboards were the most popular data analytics tool used. Another 65% used reporting tools and 64% employed visualization tools. Although less robust, 44% of survey respondents were using analytics to support the tracking of key performance indicators (KPIs). 

Microsoft was the favored vendor/product for more than half (52%) of the respondents. Vendors such as Tableau (17%), Salesforce (15%), and IBM (10%) came much further down in the rankings.

The majority (77%) of survey respondents said their executive management team saw value in their deployed analytics. Only 5% reported that their executive management team saw no business value in these tools. Further, 41% of respondents reported that their executive management team was more excited about the potential of analytics than one year ago.

Yet despite relatively high perceived support from the C-suite, 19% of survey respondents wanted to see more active participation by upper management in analytics. When it came to improving the business value of analytics in their organizations, 27% of respondents believed that a sharper focus on business use cases would build value, and 21% said that their internal staff skills in analytics needed to be stronger in order for that to happen. 

The infographic below contains selected details from the research. To read more findings and analysis, download the full report: Research: BI and data analytics usage up; but companies lack skills needed to take full advantage of tools (free for TechRepublic Premium subscribers). 

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