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October 24, 2018

SAS: Only 39 Percent of Businesses Using Data Analytics to Inform Strategy

Challenges commonly identified by businesses include access to talent with data science and analytics skills, says SAS.

By jonathan chadwick

Despite many organisations using analytics at a strategic level, their deployment of a full-blown analytics strategy is not yet underway, according to a new survey revealed by SAS on the second day of the SAS Analytics X 2018 event in Milan.

The research commissioned by the analytics provider, entitled “Here and Now: The need for an analytics platform”, recorded around 500 responses from IT and business professionals in multiple industries globally.

Just four in 10 respondents, or 39 percent, said analytics is core to their organisation’s business strategy, while 35 percent said it is used for tactical projects only.

The research suggests that while companies know analytics can help them, many lack a clear understanding of how to strategically deploy analytics insights.

SAS analytics

SAS’s analytics dashboard

“When we speak with business leader who are scaling up to use analytics and AI strategically, challenges they commonly identify are the need for an enterprise analytics platform and access to talent with data science and analytics skills,” said Randy Guard at SAS.

“With AI now top-of-mind for many organisations, it’s more important than ever to have a powerful, streamlined analytics capability,” said Guard. “AI can only be as effective as the analytics behind it, and as analytical workloads increase, a comprehensive platform strategy is the best way to ensure success at scale.”

There is also a lack of skills and leadership available to maximise the potential of analytics, with many companies struggling to manage analytics tools and data management processes.

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SAS Analytics X: Orgs Must Put Analytics at the Heart of Strategic Planning

Business leaders also appear split on the benefits of an analytics platform; 61 percent of those surveyed said it’s used to extract insight and value from data; 59 percent said one of its roles is to have an integrated or centralised data framework; while 43 percent said it’s to provide modelling and algorithms for AI and machine learning.

The top five benefits of an analytics platform were named as less time spent on data preparation and cleaning, smarter decision-making, faster time to insights, less effort to generate insights from data, and greater agility in extracting data.

SAS said businesses are not getting the most out of their analytics investments, but are perusing analytical insight as a priority.

The research also said that 72 percent of organisations claim analytics helps them generate valuable insight, while 60 percent said their analytics resources have made them more innovative.

Analytics teams are also more confident (66 percent) in their ability to meet future analytics workloads, compared to 59 percent in standard IT roles.

SAS CTO Oliver Schabenberger said at Analytics X that the AI boom we are experiencing is an “analytics boom”.

“Today we have access to a different source of knowledge about the world: Data,” he said.

“At the heart of today’s AI revolution is data science, solving a highly non-linear problem by fitting models to data using statistics, advanced analytics, optimisation, machine learning, deep learning, and so on.

“AI today is not based on writing down rules, it is based on training models by processing data.”

Read more: NHS Counter Fraud Authority: Decent Data Analytics Software Please!

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