Improving Data and Analytics Use is Most Common Objective Among Business Leaders

Less than half or 40% of executives plan to improve their department’s ability to use data and analytics in the next two years, according to a new study by The Economist Intelligence Unit, sponsored by Microsoft Cloud. That makes it their most common objective, ahead of improving their department’s agility and increasing the latter’s customer focus.

The study, part of Transforming Business, also reveals that business leaders are already confident in their department’s data-related capabilities. Two thirds (67%) of survey respondents, who include business leaders from the IT, HR, finance and sales & marketing functions, are ”somewhat” or ”very” confident in their department’s ability to use data. And 71% are confident in their own ability to ensure their department has the information it needs.

Despite this, only 35% of executives consider understanding the impact of technology trends to be one of the responsibilities of their role, and only 31% say the same of devising and implementing a technology strategy for their department.

One in four believe that technology trends will be among the most important factors impacting their departments in the next 18 to 24 months.

“Business leaders clearly understand how important data and analytics will be in the near future,” says Pete Swabey, senior editor at The Economist Intelligence Unit. “However, technology trends that are now emerging—from cloud computing to the Internet of things—will have a considerable impact on the data available for analysis, and the capabilities companies will need in order to extract valuable insight from it.”