SOURCE: MIT Sloan Management Review

MIT Sloan Management Review

March 08, 2016 15:40 ET

New Research From MIT Sloan Management Review and SAS: Most Companies Are Not Prepared for the Strategic Changes Required to Achieve Success With Analytics

More Than Two Thirds of Managers Remain Optimistic About Analytics' Possibilities, New Global Study Reveals

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwired - March 08, 2016) -  New research released today by MIT Sloan Management Review and SAS found that most managers surveyed around the globe reported that their organizations are not prepared for the robust investment and cultural change required to achieve sustained success with analytics.

These changes would include expanding the skill set of managers who use data, broadening the types of decisions influenced by data, and cultivating decision making that blends analytical insights with intuition.

A key failing among "analytically challenged" organizations -- labeled so according to their relative inability to gain competitive advantage from analytics and to use analytics to innovate -- is their lack of a strategy for analytics. Among analytically challenged organizations, only 1 of 8 respondents says his or her company has a formal long-term strategy. In comparison, companies that are advanced in analytics, the "analytical innovators," are five times more likely to have a formal strategy for analytics than the challenged group.

The new report, "Beyond the Hype: The Hard Work Behind Analytics Success," is based on results from a global survey of more than 2,000 business executives and interviews with more than a dozen senior managers.

The report finds that executives in more analytically advanced companies are much more likely to be either proponents or users of analytics than their counterparts in less analytical developed companies. Analytically challenged companies were half as likely to have executives using analytics as the analytical innovator organizations.

The report suggests that having an analytics strategy can change behaviors like these. "The right analytics strategies can shift how decisions are made in the organization," said David Kiron, executive editor for MIT Sloan Management Review and co-author of the study. "They can impact executive and employee attitudes, and can help companies get beyond mere optimization to discover new ways to create business value."

The research also indicates that despite a reported decline in competitive advantage from analytics, most managers remain optimistic about the potential of analytics and do not report a commensurate level of disillusionment. More than two thirds of managers are positive about the business potential of analytics and anticipate that the appetite in their organizations for using analytics will increase significantly over the next few years.

"It was an interesting result -- while many organizations are still struggling to derive strategic insights from analytics, they remain optimistic about the potential," said Pamela Prentice, chief research officer for SAS. "It suggests that organizations are beginning to understand the cultural and strategic changes required to realize that potential."

The study suggests that making the transition to the next phase of analytics will include an emphasis on four key issues:

1. Data awareness and responsibility. As managers rely more on data, their awareness of data in the organization -- where it is, who has it, what's available, how to find what one needs -- has to grow as well.

2. Openness to new ideas. Entertaining a wide range of ideas is fundamental to cultivating both innovation and competitive advantage with analytics, but creating room in an organization for that to actually happen demands openness to new ideas that challenge the status quo, along with a tolerance for mistakes.

3. Signals about the importance of analytics.Establishing organizational structures such as data councils, data labs, and centers of excellence will signal to staff that the organization is taking data seriously as a core asset.

4. Decisions that blend analytics with intuition. Equipping senior managers with skills and the attitude to appreciate that analytics can take intuition much further than, in some instances, intuition by itself.

Please visit MIT Sloan Management Review to read the full report, or for more information on MIT SMR's Data & Analytics content initiative.

About MIT Sloan Management Review

A media company based at the MIT Sloan School of Management, MIT Sloan Management Review's mission is to lead the conversation among research scholars, business executives and other thought leaders about advances in management practice, particularly those shaped by technology, that are transforming how people lead and innovate. MIT Sloan Management Review captures for thoughtful managers the creativity, excitement and opportunity generated by rapid organizational, technological and societal change.

About SAS

SAS is the leader in business analytics software and services, and the largest independent vendor in the business intelligence market. Through innovative solutions, SAS helps customers at more than 80,000 sites improve performance and deliver value by making better decisions faster. Since 1976, SAS has been giving customers around the world THE POWER TO KNOW®.

SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries. ® indicates USA registration. Other brand and product names are trademarks of their respective companies. Copyright © 2014 SAS Institute Inc. All rights reserved.

To join the conversation on the study, "Beyond the Hype: The Hard Work Behind Analytics Success," follow @mitsmr or @SASanalytics on Twitter, or join our groups on LinkedIn at SAS and MIT SMR.

Contact Information