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Many companies fail to empower employee data-driven decision-making

In a data-driven business, staff need access to the right data at the right time to help them do their jobs, but there appears to be a data gap

A MicroStrategy survey of 500 business intelligence (BI) and analytics professionals has found that data and analytics is being used to drive business development. But many businesses limit how much data front-line staff have access to, which leads to extra work for data teams and results in delays to decision-making.

According to the survey, 46% of BI and analytics respondents said they had been able to identify and create new products and revenue streams, and 45% of organisations were using data and analytics to develop new business models.

However, only 32% of the BI and analytics professionals surveyed said their organisations made data available to up to 50% of employees, while just under a fifth (19%) gave no more than a quarter of their employees access to data. Only 14% said their organisations gave up to 75% of staff access to corporate data.

The limited availability of data to employees has an impact on productivity, according to MicroStrategy. When asked to estimate how long it took unskilled or less data skilled employees in their organisations to get the data they required to make a business decision, the majority of BI and analytics professionals (48%) said “a few hours”. In a few of the organisations surveyed (12%), this delay was measured in days.

The survey also found that in 79% of organisations, employees needed to ask business analysts for help when making data-driven decisions. Just 7% of the organisations surveyed offered self-service BI and analytics tools for their staff. According to MicroStrategy, the remaining 14% were “simply winging it”.

The survey reported that 58% of respondents said their organisations already had a chief data officer, while 23% were considering creating the position. Looking at the breakdown across industry sectors, the survey found that 78% of telecommunications organisations had a chief data officer, but just 28% of government agencies could say the same.

The survey found that organisations professing to be data-driven were prioritising investments to help make them so. Among the BI and analytics professionals surveyed, 47% had their entire analytics platform in the cloud, a jump of 8% from the previous year. For those not already using cloud analytics, 71% said they were considering moving their analytics to the cloud within the next five years, with 40% of those noting it would be within the next year.

According to MicroStrategy, those survey respondents who had embraced the use of data and analytics reported benefits such as improved efficiency and productivity, faster and more effective decision-making, and better financial performance. Retail and healthcare industries were found to be leading the charge in this area, using analytics to identify and create new products and revenue streams.

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