Last week was a busy one in the world of business analytics. The biggest news for SAS is our ranking as a leader in predictive analytics and data mining by an independent analyst firm. In The Forrester Wave: Predictive Analytics and Data Mining Solutions, Q1 2010, SAS earned top overall ranking in all three categories – current offering, strategy and market presence – including perfect scores for functionality, professional services, licensing and cost, direction, and company financials criteria.
Separately, new research launched last week from our friends at Accenture shows that most global organizations are failing to use analytics to make informed decisions and predict future business events.
What are we to make of these two divergent studies? On the one hand, you have a report that says there are at least nine qualified vendors that provide mature products for predictive analytics. On the other, you have survey results that say most executives are still primarily trusting their instincts. In fact, their organizations are encumbered with "siloed data, outdated technology and a lack of analytical talent."
Are most businesses in a hopeless situation, buried in data, organized chaotically and too overwhelmed to find insights? Or are there still opportunities to re-prioritize and start making decisions based on predictive insights?
The Forrester report sounds hopeful: “Predictive analytics can play a pivotal role in the planning and day-to-day operations of your business.” The report's author, James Kobielus, is a Senior Analyst at Forrester.
Likewise, the Accenture research shows that companies are recognizing the value of predictive analytics – and are planning for it. While more than half the respondents said their organizations are structured in a way that prevents data and analytical talent from generating enterprise-wide insight, 71 percent said that their organization’s senior managers are still “totally” or “highly” committed to analytics and fact-based decision-making. And the greatest long-term analytical priority? Developing the capabilities to model and predict.
Dave Rich, Managing Director of the Accenture Analytics group says, “This is a huge opportunity that organizations are failing to harness. We believe that predictive analytics will be the difference between the winners and losers in the next economic cycle.”
But how do you become one of those winners? Where do you start? Start within your own organization, and take advice from these experts:
- SAS Customer Lori Bieda explains how to break down the barriers between the analytics community and the business decision makers.
- SAS Consultant Zul Sidi says to build a culture where people are not afraid of change.
- SAS Analytics Product Manager Tanya Balan explains how to start with the business problem and figure out how to solve it with the right type of analytics.
- Futurist Thornton May says analysts should advocate for their skills and capture the imagination, respect and energy of a broad and diverse set of stakeholders, including suppliers, customers and executives.
- Gary Cokins suggests uncluttering our minds, because decisions deserve analysis.