How are top-performing organizations pulling away from their peers? In many cases, it’s through an understanding and clever usage of analytics. This week we welcome HBG Senior Researcher and analytics student and practitioner, Heather Willis, to The Intelligent Edge. Heather shares some of the latest studies with tips on the most important things organizations should do to take advantage of the data available to them.
So: are you a Pacesetter or a Dabbler? What do I mean by that? As you probably already know, we are in the midst of significant change in how we deal with and use the massive amount of data that is being created and collected each day.
In the past two years alone, a zettabyte, 80% of the world’s data, was created. That’s more information than humans created in all of history so far! It’s an overwhelming thought, but all that data provides us with a universe of possibilities.
According to Analytics: The New Path to Value, a joint MIT Sloan Management Review and IBM Institute for Business Value study, of the 3,000 executives and analysts they surveyed, 38% percent had a limited understanding of how to use analytics to wrangle all of this data into actionable intelligence.
The organizations that have decided to use the data available to understand their customers, clients, (and in some cases, donors), are using big data and analytics, cloud, mobile, and social media in a way that is rocketing them ahead of their peers, and it’s positively impacting their bottom lines.
Introducing the Pacesetters…
IBM Business Tech Trends study called “Raising The Game” studied these organizations and found that the top performers, called Pacesetters, are those that are clearly on the fast track with new technology and the use of data. Pacesetters have three key features that set them apart in this new world of data overload:
- Partnering is in their blood.
- Analytics is driving their business decisions.
- They integrate four key technologies (big data and analytics, cloud computing, mobile, and social media) into their standard operating procedures.
…and introducing the Followers and the Dabblers
IBM identified a second tier of organizations called Followers and a third called Dabblers. Followers know that these technologies are important, but drag their feet in adopting them. Dabblers are organizations that lag behind, or are at best on par with their competitors in terms of adoption and use of technology.
IBM first studied the Pacesetters in 2012, in their Fast Track to the Future study. These top organizations are still on the fast track three years later. They’re not burdened or distracted by new competitors, more data, or increasingly sophisticated technology. In fact, just like the 1% wealthiest individuals, Pacesetters are continuing to pull away from the rest of the pack.
About nine in ten of the Pacesetters say they are gaining a competitive advantage from big data and analytics, cloud, mobile and social media. That compares to just four in ten of the Dabblers.Across every type of business activity Pacesetters partnered more than Dabblers. And it’s not about partnering with just anyone; Pacesetters are creative about their partnerships. If they were lacking in a particular skill set, such as specifics on how to create and interpret a model, then they made sure to partner with someone who could fill that void.
During the next two years, 60% of the Pacesetters plan on increasing their investment in analytics by at least 10% or more. That’s compared to less than 30% of the Dabblers. This kind of deliberate emphasis and investment in analytics will serve to put Pacesetters well ahead of others in their industry in terms of their understanding and use of the technology available. As technology grows, those lagging behind will have to spend even more time learning in order to catch up.
Integration is the icing on the cake. Each tool we use – big data and analytics, cloud computing, mobile, and social media – is powerful in itself. But utilizing them together brings significantly more robust results and creates a larger and more successful effect on our business activities.
Keeping pace with new technologies and abundant amounts of data is definitely a challenge. Maybe it’s not possible to employ all three of these key strategies at once at your organization but just understanding what drives the success of Pacesetter organizations is the first step. Taking one step at a time to start thinking and acting like a Pacesetter will surely help set goals for your organization.
If you’re not sure how to get started, start with partnering with other organizations and consultants who will fill in the skills or knowledge gaps that you have. Increasing your investment in analytics now will put you on the track to becoming one of the successful Pacesetters soon.
For further reading:
Want to take baby steps with some free tools? Check out ComputerWorld magazine’s chart and image gallery of 30+ free tools for data visualization and analysis.
From The Guardian: The Science Behind Why People Give Money to Charity.