The data paradox – are we getting the value from our investment in data analytics? Hashtag Trending, the Weekend Edition for November 5th, 2022

This week I’m discussing what I’ve referred to as the “data paradox” with my guest is Kimberly Nevala, Strategic Advisor & Advisory Business Solution Manager for analytics firm SAS.

Here’s a link to this week’s podcast. 

Stated simply, the paradox is that despite high levels of interest and investment, most reports show that many companies have not incorporated analytics into their culture – to become “data driven.” Without embedding analytics into their processes and culture, they are not getting the full value of their investments in analytics. If analytics doesn’t make a change in your actions and behaviours as a company, how can it deliver real value?

It’s a particularly poignant topic as we are preparing for our annual Analytics Unleashed event on November 17th with our focus being how to drive more results from analytics programs.  Kimberly is our keynote speaker.

Few things have captured the imagination like data analytics. Companies have invested in software. They’ve hired data scientists. They’ve built enormous storage and analytics capabilities with data warehouses, data lakes and with the advent of internet and cloud storage maybe even data oceans are next. The sky is the limit in terms of interest and investment.

By one recent estimate, in 2019 companies were spending 189 billion dollars on products and services for data analytics. Estimates for 2022 were in the neighbourhood of almost two hundred and seventy-five billion dollars. That’s enormous growth.

Every large company and many small ones have data analytics programs in place. This year, our Canadian CIO census reported that analytics was one of the top priorities.

So how is it that with all of the interest and investment, the percentage of firms identifying themselves as being data-driven actually declined?

In 2019, while 189 billion was being spent, one survey reported a drop in the percentage of firms identifying themselves as data-driven, falling six percentage points from 37% to 31% over a three-year period. This was consistent with a Harvard Business Review survey that reported almost 70% of companies had not established a data-driven culture.

Despite those numbers, there are valid and demonstrable stories of great success using analytics. Some companies are fabulously successful. Amazon and Netflix spring to mind as giants that have created “prediction engines” that drive sales and viewership. Equally, as a publisher we encounter stories of companies large and small that are less well known, but are indeed realizing tremendous benefits from their analytics.

Hence the paradox. Are these reports all wrong? If not, why, with all the interest and investment, are we not having more success at building data driven organizations?

Join us as we discuss reasons why the paradox exists and more importantly, what we can do about it on Hashtag Trending, the Weekend Edition.

As always, if you have questions or comments or suggestions for guests and topics, please drop me a note.  Just hit the check or X under the story and it will let you send a note to me and the editorial team. 

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Jim Love
Jim Lovehttp://www.changethegame.ca
I've been in IT and business for over 30 years. I worked my way up, literally from the mail room and I've done every job from mail clerk to CEO. Today I'm CIO and Chief Digital Officer of IT World Canada - Canada's leader in ICT publishing and digital marketing.

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