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60% of Canadian businesses making data analytics a strategic priority, new survey finds


November 17, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter


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A total of 59% of Canadian businesses are making data analytics a strategic priority and 31% of Canadian executives already feel that analytics has better prepared their organizations to meet today’s competitive challenges, according to a new Forbes Insights report released on Monday in cooperation with Ernst & Young (EY).

The 2015 EY/Forbes Insights Data & Analytics Impact Index: Don’t Forget the Human Element report said that 31% of Canadian executives feel that analytics has better prepared their organizations to meet today’s competitive challenges, compared to 20% of their counterparts in the United States and 26% globally. [click image below to enlarge]

31% of Canadian executives feel that analytics has better prepared their organizations to meet today’s competitive challenges

Canadian companies are also more willing to reward employees for using analytics in their work, according to the report. Forty percent are willing to help employees expand their opportunities for advancement through the use of data analytics on the job, versus 27% of their counterparts in the U.S. and 33% globally.

The global study consisted of a survey and qualitative interviews with 564 senior C-level executives, of whom 11% of chief executives or presidents of their organization. Nearly one-third (32%) of the executives are based in the Asia/Pacific Rim region, 40% are in the Americas and 28% are in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Industries represented include technology, energy, pharmaceuticals, healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, consumer products and government.

Despite the findings, Canadian firms can’t be complacent, EY warned in a statement. “They must continue to move forward on integrating data analytics into everything they do to mine untapped value,” the statement said. “While the production aspects of analytics (technology, tools, data and advanced analytic skills) have drawn a great deal of attention, it is ultimately people who will translate data and insights into business outcomes.”

“Analytics insights can’t stand alone,” Steven Maynard, EY partner and analytics leader, said in statement. “They should be used to drive better business decisions and create value for the organization. That’s where the focus on people comes in. Leaders need to make sure that their staff are fully equipped and encouraged to use data analytics insights in their daily work.”

Globally, in 39% of leading analytics organizations – versus 12% of the rest – analytics skills are “recognized, effective, efficient, monitored and clearly used to support decisions,” EY said. More than one-third of the top organizations also have well-defined competencies for each role and level, along with robust training programs that address potential skills shortages.

“Analytics-driven organizations, where decisions are evidence-based and strategically aligned, are more competitive and agile,” Maynard said. “In our slower growth economy, competitiveness and agility are two characteristics that will determine who will succeed and who will fall behind.”

The report noted that while data and analytics have been a part of business for a long time, it’s only in recent years that they have come to the attention of executives and managers as a powerful way to create competitive advantage. “That’s because there has been an explosion of data, coming not only from every corner of the enterprise and consumers across the globe, but also from a dizzying array of sources – audio, video, geospatial, telemetric and sensor data,” the report said.