The data-driven enterprise: New strategies for better decision-making
The Economist, Intelligence Unit: in a knowledge-based economy, the ability to generate data-driven insights will align more and more with companies’ overall competitiveness. More than two-thirds of companies the EIU surveyed in 2018 said their profitability had increased over the past three years thanks to their digital strategy and nearly three-quarters expect it to rise in the next three years.
Data is now a major driver of the US economy—a vital engine of production and value creation alongside physical and human capital. In a 2019 article, researchers writing for the Harvard Business Review set out to rank the countries of the world by their contribution of data to the global digital economy.1 The US came in first of all countries ranked, based on the volume, complexity and availability of the data it produces.
That prominence is reflected in its spending on big data and analytics tools. Sales in 2019 approached US$100bn according to IDC, putting it way ahead of its nearest rivals, the UK (US$9.6bn) and Japan (US$9.2bn).
US appetite for these technologies shows no sign of waning. In 2020 two-thirds of US companies (66%) plan to increase their investment in data analytics, slightly ahead of a global average of 65% according to a recent study conducted by research firm Hall & Partners on behalf of Microstrategy. When US respondents were asked about their top uses of data analytics, two responses tie for top place, each cited by 55%: “to analyse how current products and services are used” and “to drive process and cost efficiency”.
Democratisation of data
For many companies a challenge still remains in terms of getting data into the hands of employees making decisions. According to the Microstrategy report, only 44% of frontline employees at US companies are given access to the company’s data and analytics compared with 48% in the UK, 51% in Japan and 58% in both Germany and Brazil.
This is a big focus at World Wide Technology (WWT), a technology reseller and systems integration company. According to Mike Taylor, chief technology officer, the company has sophisticated analytics at work around the logistics of receiving hardware from suppliers, configuring it and shipping it out to customers. However, the role that data plays in communicating directives from management to the rest of the organisation has arguably been more important in terms of company culture.