Are your data analysts extracting value from your information?

By: In: Information Value On: Sep 28, 2015
Are your data analysts extracting value from your information?

Do you make the most of your data analysts? In the age of Big Data, the way we think and talk about information has changed. Where once the key concern was information risk, the discussion has now evolved to embrace the idea that businesses should extract value from their information. This quest for the information advantage should serve and influence business strategy. Failure to embrace the changes required to manage information as an asset is no longer an option.

Though it remains important, the C-suite must look beyond risk mitigation. Business leaders must embrace information as a means to gaining a competitive edge. An essential step is to employ  data analytic skills, possibly including Chief Data and Chief Information officers, and make sure that these skills are deployed correctly to support business decision making and that they can communicate findings clearly to decision makers to act upon.

A strategy for extracting value

In a recent PWC global CEO survey, respondents stressed the important role that their information can play in gaining insight about customers and how to engage with them, with 80% citing mobile technologies for customer engagement and data mining and analysis as most strategically important to them, and they’re spending a large amount of capital to achieve these goals.

According to the International Data Corporation’s Worldwide Business Analytics Services 2014-2018 Forecast, global spending on business analytics services will reach 89.6 billion USD in 2018 from the 51.6 billion USD spent in 2014. Organisations are beginning to realize the potential their data holds. Those that fail to take notice will struggle to remain competitive and, in the long-term, risk obscurity.

A recent whitepaper, Seizing the information advantage-How organisations can unlock value and insight from the information they hold, from PwC and Iron Mountain, shows organisations falling behind in terms of taking full advantage of their information. Three-quarters of the businesses surveyed lack the required skills, technical capabilities and culture to exploit their information as an advantage. Hiring and empowering the right people is a key step.

Suggestions for Empowering Your Data Analysts/ Officers:

  • Hire analysts with technical skills to interpret data
  • Align the data-driven approach to the business strategy.
  • Prioritise data sets and analytics that will drive decision making.
  • Invest in tools that support analysis, interpretation and visualisation.
  • Promote creative practices, innovative solutions and value-driven information strategies.
  • Give data analysts and officers clear ownership and responsibility for data sets.

If the business doesn’t already have an information oversight body in place then this should be a priority. Make sure that all key function areas – not just IT – are involved. IT has a key role to play but should not be in the driving seat. This body should focus on getting the risk-reward balance right – ensuring that information is managed for risk and as an asset, with the goal of retaining and exploiting it to get value through process improvements and insight. Support for this group must come from the very top of the business.

These steps will help your organisation—and its people—to achieve full information advantage.

For more tips on how to extract value from your information, download Seize the information Advantage – How Organisations Can Unlock Value and Insight from the Information They Hold,” a report from PWC and Iron Mountain.

Seizing the Information Advantage: Unlocking Value and Insight →

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About the author

Elizabeth Bramwell

Elizabeth has overall responsibility for the Commercial Function within Iron Mountain UK. In this capacity she leads the business development and customer retention activities on behalf of Iron Mountain UK. She is also responsible for ensuring that Iron Mountain continues to develop propositions that respond to customer and market demands and maintains its position as a leader in records and information management. Elizabeth joined Iron Mountain in November 2014, after more than 20 years in the IT & Telecommunications industry. In her last role, as Sales Director at Kcom she was responsible for leading a £230m revenue business with a team of more than 170 people, covering all aspects of the sales function within the Kcom b2b brand. Prior to this she spent 11 years at Cable & Wireless where she undertook a number of senior sales leadership roles. These included managing the Systems Integration business and leading the Strategic Accounts team which was responsible for the retention and growth of client accounts across all of the key vertical sectors for C&W.