Sybase Survey Reveals Analytics Paradox

IT sees value of Analytics, but few have formalized analytics plan.

A survey recently conducted by Sybase of a selected subset of the company's Sybase IQ customers sheds light on an interesting paradox: although respondents recognize the value of analytics, fewer than 15 percent of them have a formalized analytics plan.

There's no doubt about what's driving enterprises to adopt analytics: 72 percent say it's "data growth and managing the ability to make sense of it all." (In second place: improving time-to-decisions, cited by 11 percent of respondents.) Predictive analytics is being used for financial planning and forecasting (69 percent) followed by customer service and "other" (tied at 23 percent). Half of respondents (50 percent) reported that use has spread to more parts of their organization.

An impressive 83 percent of respondents said their organization considers analytics a "must-have" element, yet only 14 percent have a formalized analytics strategy. Although 93 percent report that "growth of business data and the distribution of that data" is having a greater impact on its IT planning, and despite the recognized value of analytics, only half (50 percent) of respondents are using analytics as part of their annual IT planning process.

Respondents say increasing or maintaining their competitive advantage is the greatest benefit sought from their analytics program (46 percent), followed by improving planning and forecasting (36 percent) and improving customer service (31 percent).

When shopping for an analytics solution, 64 percent report time to results is the most significant factor, followed by total cost of ownership and initial cost.

"Businesses are continuing to drown in data, and more and more are seeing analytics as a lifeline," Tom Traubitz, director of product marketing for Sybase IQ, told BI This Week. "Dealing with the data glut is only the beginning. Many of these companies are finding analytics an increasingly important factor in staying competitive. They realize that the infrastructure they have can't give them the results they're looking for. They need a new approach to understand data and serve a greater number of users more quickly, improving time to decisions.

"Storing data in a more efficient way makes it easier to get answers, but that's just the beginning. As analytics becomes more central to the business, organizations need to have a plan in place that embraces this strategic weapon."

"Companies that are on the fence about analytics need to make the jump and find out where analytics can provide the greatest benefits. The question to ask is no longer 'Should we implement analytics?', but rather 'Which analytical problems should we address first?' That is not a difficult question to answer. Look for the areas where complete, timely answers are not available for all decision-makers driving the business forward. That's where analytics begins."

About the Author

James E. Powell is the editorial director of the Business Intelligence Journal and BI This Week newsletter. You can contact him here.

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